Well as I sit here in the horse pasture, I don’t even know what to say or where to begin. I feel like some loop has been closed in my life…the loop of the horses. Kind of like coming ‘full circle’, but a simple circle would be an understatement. It’s more like I’ve come full spiral. From being a little girl taking care of the common old trail horses in our yard, to competing on nicer horses and becoming a trainer, to seeing the successful business I’d created become less and less sustainable in pricey Northern California, the same dissatisfaction would eventually arise. I just want to be with the horses in a way that aligns with my personal spirit. I want to train horses they way I want to do it. I remember years ago complaining to a therapist something to the effect of “It’s like the same stupid issues and problem people keep showing up…the same monster just with a different face on it…over, and over, and over again.” These ‘monsters’ kept wanting me to do it their way…to give them what they wanted.
How dare they….especially the ones who were paying me!! Of course I then said, ‘What the f*#k’s the matter with me?!?’ She patiently explained, as all good therapists do, that a) there was nothing the matter with me, and b) it wasn’t the SAME issue at all, and c) that it was up to ME to create the kind of life with horses that was fulfilling to ME. “Think of it like a spiral, she said….it FEELS like the same problem, but each time you move through something, you’re moving along the spiral, so you’re encountering it on a whole different level. It’s just a version of the same issue, on a completely different level.” I blinked hard, trying to comprehend. It’s only taken 20 years for me to understand what she was talking about.
The fact that I sit here with my scuffed up boots on a makeshift ottoman I made out of old tires and feel as if I have won the Lottery, certainly tells me that I have indeed arrived at a new level on the spiral of my career. I literally feel like the luckiest girl in the world. If you had asked me 15 years ago what success with horses looked like, this would not have been high on the list. In fact, this would have meant that I’d actually…failed. And failed badly. There are lots of folks who fail at being a good trainer but at least go buy themselves some proper barn furniture to put their feet up on for Christ sake!! But as I sit here listening to the sweet birdsong, watching the cotton candy clouds drift across a bright blue sky, horses to my left and cows to my right, there is no place I’d rather be. It feels like home.
Yesterday, when I pulled up and saw the truck and horse trailer, I cried. Not because I thought I’d made a giant mistake or because I thought I’d failed, but because I was so, so happy. Circling loose inside the box was a large red mare whose outstanding features were a tangled mane and a piebald face with a big wall eye. This was to be my horse for the next 75 days, a feral 4 year old from a home rescue 100 miles west of here. As the horse spun circles in the trailer, some people might have wondered what they hell they’d done. Or been worried. Or been at least wondering if they could somehow say ‘Oh my, I think I’ve overcommitted myself a little bit….surely there’s some way we can undo this…..let me pay you your hauling fee and add a little extra and we’ll be all good’. But me? I couldn’t wait to get that horse out of the trailer and see what we could do.
Later that day, I cried some more. I called Chris and told him “I’m just so happy-when I pulled up and saw that trailer I just felt like a total and complete confirmation that this is exactly what I’m meant to be doing!” Then I called a mentor of mine, a fellow equestrienne and Sport Psychologist who was counseling me back in 2012, the very first time I acknowledged out loud that I didn’t want to keep doing horses the way I had been doing them for the past 20 years. She didn’t pick up but texted me later, putting to words exactly how I felt: “You have found purpose with the horses that allows you to share your gifts and be part of a conduit for helping horses and riders.” YES!! YAHOOOOO!!! YIPPIE KAI YAY!!!!! Most posts to follow on how this all actually came to be, and who that tangled mane, pie bald, wall eyed beast really is. Stay tuned!