• Elaine Sanders


Sean Connery died last weekend.

I have always thought he was one of the most good-looking men I’d ever not met. And I mean, always. I was only six years old or so when I told my Mom how handsome I thought he was. I laugh when I say he was my first crush.

But he has taken a fall from his pedestal in my books.

Apparently (and maybe this is just rumour), he thought it was ok to hit women.

But you can’t hit a woman like you hit a man, he clarified. It’s got to be an open-handed smack. And not all the time. Just when they need it. You know, because women can get carried away.

Oh, how comforting.

As Sir Sean toppled from his white horse, I had a realization.

I’ve heard that term before. Open-handed smack. In the horse world.

I’ve seen that kind of smack delivered to a horse. I’ve been told that it helps them realize what they did was dumb. I’ve been told it teaches them respect. I’ve been told that it brings them back to earth when they get carried away. And I’m ashamed to say that I fell for it, and I have delivered a few of those open-handed smacks in my past.

It’s not uncommon to hear about a smack to gain respect. A bop on the nose to stop biting. A whack on the neck to get a horse out of the way. A yank on the lead rope to get their attention.

Like dear Sean, we believe(d) these things were justified. We didn’t do it all the time, but just to gain respect. Just when the horse gets carried away like they do.

But here’s the thing.

Demanding respect in a non-respectful way is not respectable.

You wouldn’t respect someone who demanded your respect with a smack, a bop, a yank, or a whack.

Why would your horse?

You wouldn’t care if they said the smack was justified. Actually, the fact they think it’s justifiable makes you respect them even less.

Sure, you’ll stay out of their way. Sure, you’ll remember that they can make you move. And sure, you’ll learn a thing or two. But probably not what they wanted you to learn.

You’d learn to fear them. Not respect them.

You’d learn to move away from them. Not move with them.

You’d learn to obey them. Not to listen to them.

It would create results. But not relationship.

No matter whose respect we are trying to earn, whether it’s our horse, our spouse, our kids, our friends, colleagues, neighbours, strangers, or even ourselves, remember that demanding respect in a non-respectful way is not respectable.

If you’re trying to earn respect, you must be respectful.

Have you ever tried demanding respect from your horse? Did you feel it enhance the relationship or just get results?

Is there anyone else’s respect that you’re trying to earn? A family member, co-worker, yourself? Did talking or acting in a disrespectful manner earn their respect?

What respectful thing can you do today to earn your horse’s respect?

How can you show respect to your family member, co-worker, or yourself to earn respect today?

Here’s to You and Your Horse

With heart,


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