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Yesterday I introduced you to the little mare who does tricks for cubes. She’s a sweetheart – no doubt about it. She also has her mane braided – each braid tied off with a different colored rubber band.

She does tricks and has cute hair?


She’s a double whammy of cuteness.


Seeing her started me thinking about self esteem and perhaps even more important, self-compassion.

Why is it so hard for us as human beings to feel good in our own skin?

It seems we do this constant dance of comparison. And when we engage in this form of self abuse, we only end up feeling bad about ourselves.

Because here’s the thing: there will always be someone thinner, richer, better looking, or in better shape than you. Someone else will always have a better job, a nicer house.

And yet we end up believing that if only we lost those ten pounds, or got a new hairstyle, or found a better job, or started jogging, we’d somehow be better people.

More worthy.

More lovable.

But what I’ve learned in my work with people, is  that most of us could care less about what we see on the outside.

People like us/love us for what’s inside.  For who we are rather that what we are.


And that litany of worry and comparison usually occurs only in our heads.

As far as I’m concerned, if someone puts those kinds of judgments on you, they aren’t truly your friend.

And if it’s you – well for sure it’s time to treat yourself with a lot more kindness and compassion.


Pepper says she’s down with that.


She doesn’t have braids in her mane or do tricks for food, but she’s totally comfortable being just who she is.

When it comes to getting noticed in the pasture, Pepper usually takes a back seat to Bud. He’s the one folks comment on. They say things like:

“That appy is so cute.”

“How’s Bud today?”

“We just love Bud.”

“Your appaloosa has so much personality.”

I can only think of a few times when anyone mentioned Pepper. At least before they first said something about Bud.

All the while, Miss Pepper quietly holds her space in the world. To me she’s like a plain brown wrapper that conceals a wonderful gift. Because what I see is a horse full of personality.

She has a great sense of humor. A few years back, before I was into my daily routine with the horses, I sometimes had trouble recognizing Pepper. That is until I was right up on her. In my defense, at first glance, she does look very similar to a lot of the other horses in the pasture. So I’d wander among all the brown horses, and get up close to each, trying to find my girl. She, of course, wouldn’t let on that she knew me. I know I walked past her more than once. And I also know that inside, she was laughing.

At me!

I may have even heard snickering.

It’s okay. I deserved it.

Pepper is a strong-minded mare. She knows exactly what she wants – whether it’s alfalfa cubes; to stand in the shed; to avoid a horse she doesn’t like; or to graze in a certain part of the pasture.

Come to think of it, is there any other kind of mare than strong-minded?

I admire her ability to know what she wants and to insist on it. I’ve taken assertiveness training from her many times.

In the past couple of weeks, on two separate occasions, people have made comments about Pepper, not Bud. At first I was surprised. Maybe even shocked.

Pepper and her mustang boyfriend Red

Now don’t get me wrong. I love Bud.

He is cute.

And personable.

I love him with all my heart.

But every now and then it makes me feel great to have Miss Pepper noticed for the wonder that she is.

One of my blog readers commented that Pepper has a beautiful sculptured face. “Maybe she has a little Thoroughbred in her,” she said.

For the record, she doesn’t. She’s 100% Quarter Horse. And proud of it.

Then the other night while we were out feeding, another horse keeper was also out giving her horse grain and medicine. She said, “Your horse looks great. She’s really pretty and in such good shape for her age.”

My heart just filled up. Not with pride. I could care less really what other people think of my horses, because I know who they are.

But I was happy for Pepper, because she is a pretty girl.

And I am reminded once again that one doesn’t have to be the showiest horse in the pasture, or the youngest, or the cutest to be of value. Good words to remember in this day and age of youth, glamour and celebrity.

There’s room for all of us. Even us quiet ones!

What about you?

Are you more like Bud in the spotlight or behind the scenes like Pepper?



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