It is a well held belief that horses, if we are open to them, are our teachers. If we are lucky, we will encounter, one, two or even several in our lifetimes. But if we are particularly fortunate we will encounter a master, a guru, a true professor of the equine world.
We will not feel fortunate or lucky, quite the opposite, we will feel lost, we will feel complete despair, we will feel broken in mind, in body and in spirit and we will feel like giving up. But somewhere from deep within our subconscious we will recognise the gift that this horse offers us and if we surrender to their teaching we can be remade into so much more.
I warn you now though, that for most of us, there will be no sudden revelation and then all will magically be right, this process often goes on without our conscious mind and it is only later, maybe years later, that we understand the alchemy that has transformed us. The only light we have to guide us is the determination not to give up and the understanding that we have to be the change we want to see.
This month is special, because not only does it mark the anniversary of such a horse into my life, but it is also the launch of a huge global project which I would not have been involved with, or may not have happened in this form, at this time if she had not chosen me.
In an in no doubt that Ember was destined to become my master teacher. She behaved impeccably when I viewed her (though I had actually planned view another horse) and through her vetting. Once I had got her home, I spent a few days doing groundwork, but when I tried to ride her she showed me in about 6 seconds what she thought of my horsemanship knowledge. She didn’t care that I had owned horses for 20 years and had worked with them professionally for 8 years. I did not have the skills that I needed for her!
This was not immediately apparent to me as I laid on the arena floor surrounded by onlookers as it was a busy Saturday on the yard. Actually I was pretty dumb and it took few more times of me hitting the floor before the message got through. Thats when the despair set in. I thought of selling her, twice even writing out an advert. I thought of sending her away for schooling, but everything seemed like a betrayal. Of her, of her trust, of the message she was giving me. And so with a conscious decision (and gentle persuasion and support of my husband) I surrendered to the journey.
The journey has been long and hard, my confidence in myself and my horse was broken, there have been times when I have just walked away from her and sat on the edge of the school crying, there are times when I have just apologised to her. But she has shown me when I was on the right path and the rewards were immeasurable.
She has helped me become more positive, to become more grounded, to become more open to ideas and to understand that everyone is on their own journey. I have become less concerned about ego and the outward signs success and find it easier to surrender to the process of life. She has inspired my interest in bitless bridles which has allowed me to research and write, to meet some wonderful people and now be on the brink of the launch of a global organisation. In short she has remade me.
This is a japanese art which repairs broken pottery with a lacquer which is dusted or mixed with gold, silver or platinum. The break is seen as part of the history of the object and they are revered as works of art. The idea is not to hide the scars or imperfections but to recognise the beauty in broken things remade.
We might not wear our scars visibly but they are there, to remind us of the journey and they are filled with pure gold.
I would like to thank Adele Shaw of The Willing Equine for the inspiration for this blog from her recent sharing on FB of her own special challenging horse.