Photo Credit: © 2006 Lynne Holder

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Next Chapter

I received a text message with a picture attachment a couple days ago from my friend, Carrie.

"The horses are here!!!!!!", it read.

Yes, I counted. There were 6 exclamation marks. And I would have added more. I felt my spirit lift several levels. Is this another dream about to be recovered?

Carrie and her soon-to-be-husband, Tim, are licensed counselors and partners in Second Wind, a counseling center that has grown into a ranch offering equine assisted growth and learning. It's been quite a process to prepare the property for the horses, but they have arrived and are acclimating to their new environment.

I am looking forward to being a part of Second Wind. I have volunteered to be a part of this therapy program for a few reasons:
  1. I absolutely love horses.
  2. I am convinced, because of my experience, that horses are excellent teachers. We humans mistakenly think that we teach them, when often the reverse is true. Ideally, it's a 2-way street. They are sensitive, non-judgmental, and forgive unconditionally--the perfect learning environment. 
  3. Since my back injury, I really have no idea, or hope, that I will ride again without further injury. This is an opportunity to be with the animals and people I love, and give to someone who needs help.
Since I opened that message and looked at the horses that I will meet soon, I couldn't help thinking back over my life, with and without these marvelous creatures. Currently horseless, I miss their presence and the experiences I've enjoyed with my equine partners.

It's been 6 years since I said goodbye to my 4-legged love, this gorgeous gelding named Trigger Man Pep, or "Pep", as I called him.

It fit him. He liked 2 speeds: fast and faster. He was extremely athletic. And standoffish. The smart ones are. He would do just about anything for me. We rode trails (our favorite), jumped fences, learned dressage together, and went so far as to compete in local hunter-jumper shows and a horse trial in 2001.

My 15-hand Quarter Horse among all the leggy, hot-blooded Thoroughbreds attracted more than a few sideways glances. Yes, he did all that, but as anyone who knows Quarter Horse bloodlines knows, this horse was bred and born from championship cutting horse stock.

If I had had very deep pockets, I would have dived head first into the cutting world, but I didn't, and it's a good thing. That world he came from damaged him, and by the time I found him at barely 5 years of age, he was scared to death. His trainer had abused him and he would not take it anymore. He refused to compete, actively seeking a way out of the cutting pen. Smart.

It's been said that you don't attract what you want, you attract what you are. I can say, that's absolutely true. We were both wounded in different ways, but together, Pep and I learned about trust, forgiveness, and respect. Eventually he stopped looking for a way out of everything. He followed me around like a puppy. He enjoyed hugs, massages, and scratches in just the right places. And he would cut cattle again for fun, I like to think, for me.

And for me, to borrow from the movie, "Seabiscuit", he made me better.

And then, in 2005, it was time to end that chapter and begin a new one. Tearfully, I left him in the good hands of my farrier, who planned on using him for reining. I knew he had a good home, and that I had done well for him.

A new chapter is being written. Thanks, my sweet friend.

Virginia Intermont College Horse Trials show day.

No comments:

Post a Comment