Over the past couple of days, I’ve been thinking a lot about horses and acceptance. Silk and Siete have helped me find acceptance on two levels. First, I have a greater acceptance of who I am. I began spending time around horses and finding delight in them way back when my mother used to push me in a baby stroller to a pasture near our home to visit the horses that lived there. As I grew older, I seemed to always be around adults, especially my mother, who could be very judgmental and critical and who had expectations about what they wanted me to be, even if that wasn’t really who I was. This was never true at the barn, where I spent as much time as possible. The horses just accepted me. In fact, no matter where they are, horses have always welcomed me. They have never tried to exclude me or judge me, and their curiosity awakens my curiosity. It stimulates my awareness of the smallest details and the slightest nuances. They fine tune me.
The second level of finding acceptance came when I bought Silk. I was going through a rough time in my life, full of tumultuous emotions and betrayals, and found myself often unable to control what was happening, no matter how hard I tried to change it. Silk showed me that she could accept what had happened to her – a man had badly beaten her – but not let it break her spirit. Despite how humans had hurt her, she was willing to accept my friendship and trust me. One day, while I was brushing her, I was jolted by the realization that I didn’t always have to like what was happening to me, but in order to move forward, I had to accept it. Even now, my horses, day in and day out, express acceptance and tolerance. They see the world as it is, and they make the best of it. They remind me that I have to do that too.
It is very understandable to me why women and girls are so drawn to horses. These big powerful creatures are willing to simply accept human beings and do not see them as flawed. People who are afraid or regarded by others in our society as weak or insignificant or damaged are able to find their power while they are relating to a horse. The horse is “other-centered”, not “self-centered” -- without an ego or an axe to grind. Anyone who is “hyper-vigilant” shares a sharp awareness with every horse (and that includes not only people with PTSD or those who have been abused, but any woman or girl who knows the fear of walking alone in the dark or getting into an elevator with a stranger). Being on a horse gives a person power and strength that they probably don’t feel on the ground standing on only two little human feet. On the back of a horse, joined together, you can run like the wind and jump so high it feels like you are flying. You can escape and you can overcome and you can be free from whatever confines you. You can give a horse as much love as you want and feel appreciated and accepted and needed in ways that most humans are hesitant to share with each other.
Just thinking about how much my horses give me makes me want to run right out to the barn and thank them. What did we humans do to deserve such a gift?