As a young girl, growing up on a farm, it wasn’t Barbie dolls I played with, it was horses. Plastic & ceramic horses of all sizes and colors. Some were given to me by my grandfather; others were given to me as Christmas or birthday gifts. Nevertheless, at a very young age horses captured my mind, my heart, and my soul.
I think it’s in your blood. Horses. I know many women who dreamt about horses as a child, and still dreams about them as an adult. Perhaps you’re a woman who has been in love with horses for years, but have never had the privilege of owning one. Maybe you’re a woman whose best friend is your horse. Maybe you’re a woman who grew up with horses, raised your children, and would now like to own a horse again. Maybe you’re a woman like me who knows that life without horses would be no life at all. All the blood, sweat, and tears of life seem worth it when you have a horse to love, to hug, and to cry with.
In her book, If I Had A Horse How Different Life Would Be, Melissa Sovey-Nelson writes; “There is always a reason a horse appears in a woman’s life. It is no accident when they come to us, if only in our dreams. If our hearts fill with longing thinking of them, they carry a potent message. Horses may enter our lives for a short time or be present throughout. However they make a presence, their impact is permanent. Carrying us at crossroads, assisting us with burdens, empowering us with sensations of flight and freedom, they often catch us off guard with the possibility of new horizons and secret gates to our souls that need healing.”
Sound familiar? Can you relate? There is a tingle that runs up and down your spine when you think of the quote above, because you know it’s true. Horses empower women like nothing else can. Over the years, I have found that women relate to horses differently than men do. We require different things from our horses, and mainly have them to meet an emotional need. A woman looks at her horse and he represents all the things to her that she wants to be; strong, beautiful, sure, confident, free, and content. Horses bring emotions and dreams to women that only they can understand. Horses live in the present moment, while women are constantly trying to figure out what is happening today, tomorrow, next week and next month. When a woman is with her horse, she is free to live one moment at a time. She is allowed to be herself, because her horse doesn’t care what she looks like, or how she is dressed. A horse only requires us to be real!
While women tend to make very emotional connections with a horse, a woman must also remember to use the God-given knowledge she has to make good choices for herself and her horse. Women are not as strong or as physical as men, thus we must use our brains and instinct to guide us with our horses. As a woman who owns and shows performance horses, I find the middle ground a bit tough at times. It’s so easy to fall in love with the horse and excuse bad behavior or be soft when I need to be firm. Women are given a nurturing desire by God, and at times, we tend to want to nurture too much. It becomes difficult for us to be firm. We get caught up in the “riding off in the sunset” dream and forget that our friend weighs 1000+ lbs and has a mind and emotions of his own. We must remember that in firmness there is also love and leadership. (Ever heard of “Tough Love”?) Horses look for leadership, and if leadership is not your strong suit, your horse will soon teach you that you need to be in charge. Firm, yet fair. When women find an inner strength to communicate firmness with fairness, it gives a woman confidence and a desire to pursue the partnership with her horse thus fulfilling her dreams about her horse. Making the dream a reality is work. It’s an everyday task. When we keep in mind that whenever we handle our horses we are teaching them SOMETHING (good or bad), we start to pay more attention to the way we communicate with our partner. All women want a “relationship” with their horse. However, we tend to forget that a relationship is two sided and that the horse should be responsible for his half of the relationship! While our horses make our dreams come true and give us warm-fuzzies, it’s our responsibility to create a two sided relationship and learn to be firm and fair.
I am not the only woman to love a horse. I believe that God has blessed me with the horses I have and I know that he has used them to teach me, reach me, and heal me. My horses have made me the person I am today and I will forever be grateful. It’s been a quite a road, but I am thankful for the journey I am on, and that God has allowed me to have a life with those horses I dreamt about as a little girl.