When we arrived at Blue Star Equiculture a couple of weekends ago for the Medicine Wheel Workshop with Chief Phillip Whiteman Jr. and Lynette Two Bulls, the first thing that I did was go see Tex, the leader of the BSE herd. Tex was having a hard time that afternoon because one of his favorite horse buddies had just left the farm. As soon as I came to the paddock, Tex ran right to the fence to meet me, and we had a very emotional encounter. My heart went out to him, and he responded by licking my hands, never biting me, but really covering every finger with his big wet tongue.
The rest of the weekend is very difficult for me to put into words. I tried to soak up everything that Phillip and Lynette presented like I was a sponge. Then, I went home to my horses and my life and have been trying to process the changes and the contradictions and the insights that I was fortunate enough to have been given. One of the ideas that they repeatedly expressed was that whomever we are interacting with - human or horse - is presenting us with a mirror reflecting back our own mindset and emotions.
I have been thinking about this concept as I go through my daily encounters with my family and my horses, considering carefully whether their reaction to what I say and do is a reflection –especially if it annoys me or I disagree with it – of some related aspect within myself that I have trouble facing up to and owning.
Today, Siete was especially pushy and rudely barged between me and her mother. She refused to let me put on her fly mask, something that she usually welcomes as a relief from the irritating “no see ‘ems”. Normally, she comes to me and bends her head down soI can cover her ears with the mask. Instead, she ran away from me. I kept trying to understand what I should see reflected about myself in her behavior. I didn’t feel belligerent or uppity. If anything, I felt tired, preoccupied and rather weak. It was the opposite, it seemed to me, not the mirror.
Then, I came inside and looked at these photos of me and Tex, and I remembered how I was feeling as I ran out to greet him. It was a pure rush of love, and I had a true understanding of how one feels when someone you care about deeply is suddenly gone. I felt Tex’s pain and offered him friendship and love. That’s what Tex saw in the mirror as I approached him. As Chief Phillip said, “You can’t give what you don’t have.” I wasn’t giving Siete anything this morning, except weary, distracted energy. No wonder she ran away and wanted nothing to do with that.
"Horses know what you know, and they know what you don't know," the Horse Medicine man told us. I’m trying, Siete, I’m learning.