Passing by a stall at the horse show today something caught my eye. I went back to check it out and found a girl sitting in her horses stall. It was such a beautiful picture, both literally and figuratively, that I ask to photograph her and now I am writing about it.
The image took me back in time over twenty five years and gave me a glimpse of a much younger me. Me, when I knew that my happiest moments were with my horse. Me, back when I believed that my horse also felt this way.
Fast forward to my early adult hood when I was told, through actions more than words, that horses didn’t really care…that horses were just horses and that if I imagined anything more, it was all in my head.
So much of the other things I was learning from these people were true; they could train a horse to do flying lead changes on command…they must really know the horse. Very slowly my young girl dream faded, discolored…and almost died.
This was happening inside me. Belief is a powerful thing. As I lost the belief that the horse enjoyed time with me…a part of me was dying.
I thought I had it all; I was a horse trainer, I had a big barn, a big truck, a big indoor arena. People paid me to ride…and I was miserable. Miserable because the sacrifice I had made to get there was to give up what I knew about horses.
Like most things in life, hitting rock bottom makes the direction to move next more obvious. I decided that I would rather quit being a horse trainer, get a ‘regular’ job and own a few horses on the side. I would do this horse thing my way…even if that meant that I no longer could have horses as my profession. If I had to choose, I would choose the relationship over the job.
I cut back on horses…what could it hurt? I was willing to leave the business anyway. I spent more time with the ones I did ride. I laughed more, cried less, enjoyed more…and achieved more. To my shock I didn’t have to give up my business, I just had to define how I was willing to do my business and accept that the result might even be needing to get a new business. Within months I did my first bridleless freestyle….I had found the marriage between what they had taught me and what I had always known.
So today, when I saw this girl spending time with her horse, and her horse, obviously enjoying spending time with her…it was an amazing gift to me. A gift given by a girl who had no intention of impressing anyone but was simply doing what she loved.