This is a question that I ask myself many times “Why Do We Have Horses” and for as many times as I have asked this question of myself, there are just as many answers. I was introduced to horses at a young age of 10, riding then was a luxury, something that I looked forward to and I found it something to escape into. There seemed to be an instant connection and a true and deep lasting love, it was absolutely the highlight of my week. There was something magical about sitting on the back of a horse, a real sense of freedom and a feeling, something that was almost innate, you can’t really describe it even though you try. In my first lesson, I fell off twice as my introductory lessons were bareback but that did not deter my spirit, I wanted to be here, I wanted to learn how to ride. My mother however decided that this was not something that she could watch as her young daughter dusted the sand off and jumped back on even though it was my new found passion.
After these first riding lessons, it was years before I had my own horse and at the age of fifty six I have had many horses over the years and my current beloved pony has been with me from birth and is now 23 years young. Through the years there has been times when I have stepped away and had time out from horses but I have always come back, longing for that special feeling that was not attainable from anywhere else. I have many friends and students who have horses and I have asked this question of them, why do we have horses or what do you love about them? Most people really don’t know or more likely are not able to put it into words, sometimes it is hard to describe feelings, so my personal understanding is that is an innate connection that we have with these magnificent animals, it is in our genes, it is in our DNA, we are all drawn to horses like a moth to a flame, totally unexplainable but oh so enjoyable.
For me, horses are that escape into oneself, an escape from our daily life, our troubles and woes, a time just for ourselves and the true love of our lives and as we become adult riders maybe also a reconnection to the freedom that we felt as a child when we were not burdened with the life that we grew into. For anyone who has had a horse or has spent time with one, you may feel the same way, there is just something magical about them and there is a deep-seated need to be near them.
As a Horsemanship Coach my thinking now about my own connection to horses is more philisophical. I see my pony as my life’s biggest teacher, a reflection of myself, the truth about who I am really, the good the bad and the ugly and the pointing out to me of all the holes in my character that I need to fill. My pony has tested me so many times and has asked me to step up in life, to take charge, to be fearless and to continually strive for success, to live the life that I was meant to live, how could you not be connected to something that wants you to be the best version of yourself!
Horses are prey aninamls, they live in herds and by a code of ethics. They share space and relish in the company of others, they do not require praise and recognition to feel good about themselves, they live in the moment and forgive quickly, they continue to try their best to please you and remind you constantly to live in the here and now, yesterday has gone
and tomorrow doesnt matter yet! They see themselves as part of your herd and always look forward to seeing you at feed time. A wise man once said to me ” If you want to be good with horses you need to breathe the same air as them, take the time to sit in their company and acknowledge their presence. How many of us have done this on occasion?
If a horse could talk, I am sure they would have heard it all before, all the worries and problems of the world, all your misfortunes, all the love you have shared and the love that has been lost. Who hasn’t hugged their horse, buried their face into their mane, smelt that comforting smell and shed a few tears while they patiently stand and let you unload. I believe that my horse has been waiting for me to release myself into the freedom that she offers me to be myself and to become truly content with life, after all, that is what horses thrive on, freedom and contentment. Left alone to just be themselves.
For those of you who may not think so philosophically, your horse will no doubt represent something to you, you may not even know what that is today but ask yourself the question anyway and take time to hear the answer, it may just touch your heart at a deeper level. So, for now, enjoy your horses in whatever capacity you choose, love them, spend time with them, share their secrets about life, get to know them well and just maybe you too will find the answer as to why you cannot live without them.