Wednesday, 19 April 2017

It's a long way to Tipperary (or Aintree)


Hello everyone, apologies for the hiatus with my blogs, I've been on the bench so to speak and with it came a hefty dose of writer's block... which has lasted 4 months.

So, this time 2 years ago I was a gal with a plan, a horse that I could depend on and all was ok with the world.  Roll 2 years on and things are rather different.  Lame (new-ish) pony, lame owner and with it, a case of what on earth am I thinking?   I've taken the last 4 months, and more recently the last 3 weeks to really reflect why I feel I have an almighty road block in my horsemanship, and the short answer is my grief and my horsemanship are intrinsically linked.... I won't bore you with the details, but my brother was the person who drove me to my lessons as an 11 year old.. so you can join the dots.  So how have I dealt with this over the last few months?  Well, I have basically shut down and avoided the issue, which means Ada's hock arthritis, my fluctuating health, have been convenient distractions from dealing with the issue that whenever I interact with my horse, all my feelings of loss, regret, and the ugliest of all, guilt, raise their heads and stop me dead.

Now Buck has mentioned a few times, that when you live in the past its not going to work out too well for you.  With a horse who has had a bad deal, you can not just feel sorry for it, you acknowledge what the animal has gone through of course, but you can't dole pity upon it and remain stagnant.  No, you carve out a path and say ok, this is how it is going to be, I know you have had a rough deal but I offer you this consistency when we are together and do you know what, we are going to make it.  With a horse I find this relatively easy to comprehend... to extend the same courtesy to myself?  Hell no.  Until a horse made me see the wall I have put up, and I when I was forced to face it, well that sucker hit me from the ground up.  Equine therapy is something I have long admired, but not experienced, so when a friend of mine shared details of a local 'Women's Day' to find out what this wonderful place had to offer, (a local equine therapy facility) I was compelled to go.   When we were invited to meet the horses and walk across to the field (in silence), my comedic brain hit default and tried to check out.. until I felt this horse before I saw him, and it was like hitting a brick wall with my face.  Now a feel can mean different things to different people, but I felt this horse clear across the concrete yard and field, and his head shot up as out energies clashed.  We were then invited to approach the fence line to meet the herd, and this horse told me in no uncertain terms not to move forward, but I did (as I didn't want to look foolish) and I just broke down.  Great big sobs of grief, pain, relief... like the lid of two years of loss was popped off and out poured my innards.   Now it was hard to feel and accept this pain, but cathartic and I feel.. well, better.  Not mended, but lighter.  Sometimes there are lessons we need to learn, and the horses are the only way we are going to learn them.

The Japanese mend pottery which is broken with lacquer mixed with powdered gold.  As a philosophy, it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of the object, rather than something to disguise.  So I like to think the horses have performed their own 'Kintsugi' upon me, and I am now ready to saddle up and wear my laquered gold with pride.  So I will be at Aintree, come hell or high water, because my horse deserves for me to be the best I can be for her, and do you know what? I deserve to allow myself to enjoy the journey.  The Road to Buck is a long one, and different for us all, but we all deserve to be there and to learn how to give the very best deal for our horses.

See you on the flip side xx