Women and Horses
Exploring the Magical Bond
by Carol Marriott
Horses are symbolic of authentic power. True power is wisdom found in remembering your total journey. Wisdom comes from remembering pathways you have walked in another person's moccasins. Compassion, caring, teaching, loving, and sharing your gifts, talents, and abilities are the gateways to power. —Jamie Sams
Why is it that women are so seductively and powerfully attracted to horses? Horses capture our hearts and imagination at an early age. Many women confess to being horse crazy growing up, a desire some of us never outgrow. We may take a leave from horses during university, raising our children, or building careers, but as our wisdom years approach we magically find our way back to horses.
Horses offer us intimacy, deep friendship, and partnership. In the horse community, strong bonds are often developed between women as they receive validation from the horses and each other. Women's affinity for horses perhaps can be explained by their many similarities such as strength and gentleness combined, a strong intuitive nature, along with a deep desire for community, harmony, and comfort. Horses are the embodiment of the feminine characteristics, yet so incredibly powerful and robust.
Girls and women with an opportunity to spend time interacting with horses gain important life skills such as confidence, assertiveness, focus, and heightened intuition-crucial abilities when caring for and riding or handling a 1,000+ pound animal prone to fight or flight at any moment. Horses can show us where our strengths lie and where we need to learn more by asking us to set clear boundaries, to be specific, and to trust ourselves.
As a young girl I lived and breathed horses. I read every single book on horses I could get my hands on. I was convinced I could see hoof prints in the gravel alongside our suburban neighbourhood, even though in reality there wasn't a horse for miles. Any money I earned from my paper route, babysitting, and bottle collecting went towards the $2.00 fee it cost to "rent" a horse for an hour at the riding stable, a two-hour bike ride from home. I rode horses every time I had the chance, which for me, was never often enough. While other children played games on the beach and in the water during our summer picnics, I lined up over and over again for the pony rides, begging and harassing the owner to let me lead, pet, and feed the horses as the riding was never enough.
My heart has always been completely lost to horses. I was 18 and working at my first full-time job before I could afford to take formal riding lessons. Even at that young age, I recognized a deep stillness and focus around the horses that I hadn't experienced with anything else in my life.
At the riding stable, I could leave everything behind for a few hours of bliss and contentment, along with the challenge of learning to ride. I distinctly remember the mixture of feelings I had during the exhilarating riding lessons through field, forest, and stream, such as pure excitement, fear, uncertainty, dread, joy, accomplishment, peace. These simple moments were so incredibly powerful and enriching for me.
Women admit that arriving at the barn after a busy and stressful day at work cleanses and restores their souls, replenishing their sense of aliveness and peace of mind. Worries softly fall away. Casual clothes like boots and jeans replace high heels and dresses. The bonds of enduring, trusting relationships between females and equines survive life's conflicts, break-ups with family, significant others, and spouses. Grooming the horses and cleaning tack becomes the meditation.
The quiet stillness obtained from being present in the moment, a must when working around horses, is the foundation of connectedness, compassion, and relationship enhancement. An inner state of calm and well-being enhances our serenity and diminishes anger, violence, and worry.
Horses teach us to be aware, assess a situation, find a solution, and go back to just being in the present. Horses can show us that living in the moment brings us peace, serenity, and authentic connection with others in our lives.
Carol Marriott is a Certified Equine-Assisted Learning facilitator and the "Herd Boss" at Ravenheart Farms Equine-Assisted Learning & Retreat Centre, located near Humboldt, SK. Her background includes a life-long passion for horses, organizational leadership, human resources, management, and program development. Her vision is to inspire people to realize their greatness, connect with their hearts, guide them in discovery of their true nature, and provide a place of healing, play, and spiritual awakening through horse wisdom, creativity, and nature. For more information, additional workshop dates and/or private sessions, and registration call (306) 682-4641, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, visit www.ravenheartfarms.com, and see the colour display ad on page 37 of the 14.1 May/June
issue of the WHOLifE Journal.