Thursday, April 24, 2008
Fear and Trust
There’s been talk about fear floating around the blogosphere. You may have read the brave, honest exchanges of stories and feelings after horse accidents on Nuzzling Muzzles and MiKael’s Mania- Arabian Horses. If not, you should check them out. As you all know, I’ve wrestled with these emotional issues. Most horse owners have, at one point or another.
It’s a humbling experience to be injured by a horse. When Silk reared up and tore all the skin off my right hand seven years ago, it rocked my world. One important lesson I learned was that admitting my vulnerability helped make me strong again. I learned to really listen to my horse. I forced myself to accept what was happening and not make up excuses.
I think what it basically comes down to is trust in yourself and your horse. Trust takes its own sweet time to grow. I was very impatient. I doubted myself and everything I knew about horses. I wanted to sell Silk, but I couldn’t find the right person that I believed would care for her the way that I did. Then, I found a new barn where the owners, Joe and Patricia, really understood what I was feeling and wanted to help me. Inch by inch, I made my way back to feeling safe around my horse -- and I mean with baby steps. Silk also benefited from their kindness and was able to relax and learn to trust me too. A big part of our problem was that we didn’t trust each other from the very beginning, but I wasn’t willing to see that. The solution involved a lot of patience and a lot of hanging out together doing nothing. I discovered that sometimes doing nothing is really the most important thing you can do. Eventually, I could see the change in Silk’s eyes. After eleven years together, our trust now runs deep.
Not all horses and owners are a good match, no matter how much you love the horse. It’s very similar to any human love relationship. I know men who are valued,dear old friends of mine, and I love them, but I’d never marry them. I’ve seen friends of mine who have a really stormy experience with a horse. Then, they sell it to someone else, and the horse becomes a perfect angel. Horses are emotional barometers. They know, even when it’s so deep inside you that you might not even know. The way they express it and how much it takes to get your attention can be dangerous. I learned the hard way about being honest with Silk and myself.
Every day, I take what my horse has taught me and try to apply that awareness, acceptance, forgiveness, patience and kindness to all the other relationships in my life. It’s interesting that the hardest place to do this is when I’m dealing with myself.