A Happy Mare

Breathing in the fresh morning air, clear and crisp, a peaceful mare
Ready to munch on piles of hay, nothing to do but enjoy the day
Easy and slow, all feels right, feelings of safety through the night
A nicker, a whinny, her friends do call, beckoning her to come from her stall
Together they wander through the fields, stopping to nibble the grass the ground yields
Her heart is joyful in this new home, where there are acres for her to roam.

The Learning Year

As we near the end of 2020, with less than 15 days until the new year, I find myself compelled to look back over the past 12 months. It’s been a strange ride. Everyone has had more than their fair share of negativity about all manner of things, so I’m choosing to look at and focus on what this year brought me, rather than what its taken.

2020 was supposed to be my “Year of Yes!” that was the intention I set for myself in January. Saying yes to as many things as possible, though it really didn’t turn out that way. Instead it became a year of learning.
What a gift that has been.

In early spring, I (we all) had to learn how to navigate the world of Zoom and I had to learn how to get over fear of “public speaking” in the Zoom format. I still find this an awkward way of communicating, but I found my voice over time as I was forced to speak up in board meetings and chose to speak up in class calls and zoom meetings with friends and teachers. A growing moment.

In the summer, I tried my hand at gardening, something I’d wanted to be good at for my whole life but had convinced myself I had a brown thumb. With a mindset shift and a hardy succulent plant, I started small, and with encouragement & a gift from my beloved, a brand new outdoor veggie plot, I succeeded in growing a few zucchini squash, a watermelon, and I kept a flower alive for 2 years! (I got my flower plant from my mom in 2019) Until this October when it was overrun by small flies that I couldn’t get rid of.

I discovered that without a proper horse, gardening wasn’t the treat that I’d hoped it would be, but with the proper equipment (perhaps a watering can?) I may try my hand at it again this coming summer.

I took up a pencil and paper in the fall, and decided I would see what artistic genes may have been passed down to me, as both my maternal and paternal sides are/were artistic and creative, and I discovered, though my talent is not yet refined in any way, and many of my attempts are childlike, drawing has become an activity that I find immensely soothing, and it keeps me engaged and away from social media. I’ve focused my attempts almost exclusively on learning to draw horses, but a secret line drawing of my Honey while he was playing a video game turned out better than I could’ve hoped!

Perhaps most importantly to me, was undertaking riding lessons.

I pondered my options for the better part of the year as it became clear that my fears of riding still had a hold of me and I had to do something to help myself or my training career was going to go down the tubes.
I looked into western and bareback trainers but never committed. Then one day I was compelled, as I was walking past her, to circle back to Tanya, the riding instructor where I board, who I have known for 15 years, and ask her about lessons.

English lessons.

Something I’d never before considered, something I had zero interest in, until that moment in time.

We set up a session for the very next week and I have been enthralled ever since. She kicked my ass that first day, when on my very first lesson she asked me to post. I hadn’t been expecting that at all, I was expecting to ease into it, maybe after a lesson or two. I should have known better!

Even so, and hour later, as I dismounted the gentle giant Thoroughbred, Clyde, and cowboy-style bowlegged walked him back to his stall, every muscle in my body aching, and the two-day sore than came after, in spite of it all, I was absolutely hooked.

Learning to ride a different style, filling the holes in my own training/riding, gaining a more secure seat, and pushing myself outside my comfort zone (Ride over those trotting poles with no reins and my arms out to the sides like a bird, what?! Okay here we go!) It has all become the best part of my week, and I’d venture to say, the best part of my year.

It’s been a strange year. I have gained much. I’ve stretched and grown, and had ups and downs. I’ve faced fears head on. I’ve had fun. I’ve learned. It wasn’t so much a year of “saying yes”, but instead, a year of saying Yes!

 “There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning.”

– Jiddu Krishnamurti

Abandoned

Dear Woman,

I am so sorry that you knew fear at such a tender age. I am sorry that you woke up alone, with nobody there to comfort you from your nightmares. It isn’t right, that the wants of adults were put before the needs of your little soul. It isn’t right that you were left wondering where everyone had gone.

It isn’t right that today you stand as a woman, wondering what it is that you had done wrong. It isn’t right that today you stand as a woman, waiting for the next person to leave, believing that you drive them away, that you are not enough to make anyone stay.

I am sorry that your fear grips you so tightly you can neither let go of or hold on to those around you and you can’t trust the word of those who say they love you.

I’m sorry that displays of affection give rise to suspicions and someone’s word given means nothing, because the actions of your guardians proved all the words wrong.

I’m sorry for all the deceptions and heartbreaks you have endured, for the strict when you deserved the soft.

I am sorry that you haven’t yet heard the apology from the one you needed the most. My greatest hope is that someday it comes to you in the form you can receive it best.

Take heart, little one, you are not alone out there. I see you.

With deep love from,

The Heart of a Mare

Playtime with Snickers

I’m always looking for new ways to engage with Snickers because he & I just don’t click. Riding him feels like a chore for both of us because he has so little forward inclination. In an effort to connect with him, I started looking for creative ways to play.

Using body language and verbal questions as a guide, we played with the cones. We have never done this before. I saw the wheels turning for him as he puzzled out what I was asking him to do and why. Staying creative is an important part of any horse-human relationship.

Snickers is not in training with me, he belongs to a friend who graciously lends Snickers to me as one of my Equine Gestalt Coaching partners.

If Snickers speaks to your heart, you can meet him by scheduling a private EGC Session with us!

Text 303-598-6413 to book your session

Out of the Saddle

Molly

“Do you still ride her?” I’m asked this question nearly every time we meet someone new. Molly turned 30 years young this May. We don’t ride very often anymore, and when we do it’s often bareback in a halter and lead rope, around the farm or a short jaunt down the trail … but the truth is, I haven’t ridden her regularly in years.

Life seems to happen constantly (imagine that) and things get in the way; men, injury, jobs, not enough hours in the day, etc … and my beloved girl on her best day has never been a relaxing ride, I’ve always had to be ready for her shenanigans. Her fiery spirit is one reason I love her so much and it can also be exhausting to ride her, especially when I ride out alone. Like anything in life, our time together in the saddle would ebb and flow. In the past year, I find myself increasingly bonded to my little mare. We spend much of our time these days parked under the shade of a tree while she eats her lunch and I read my books. I look into her deep brown eyes, and I see contentment. There is a connected-ness and a knowing that touches me right in the core of my heart. As we share space and companionship, doing activities we both enjoy, there is a deep and profound peace.

This is a vastly different experience than that of riding, which is an activity that she is pretty clear she doesn’t especially enjoy. As I think back on it now, with the perspective of a Gestaltist and awakened horsewoman, I see now that her “Fiery Spirit” was really her telling me that a lot of the time, she didn’t really enjoy what we were doing, and there were also days that she clearly did enjoy it. I just never took the time to ask.

There is a movement going on in some pockets of the horsewoman community, where we are learning to honor the horse as an individual, where we stop and listen to the voices of our equine partners, we acknowledge that they have opinions, and we even allow them to say “No.”
These days, I am learning to ask Molly if she wants to be ridden, if she wants to join me out of the pasture, if she’d like to walk around, where would she like to graze today, would she like to go roll in the sand of the arena, would she like to step up to coach clients with me? I am learning to listen to her voice and let go of my expectations, and when I sit with her and we connect in our quiet way, I can feel the gratitude on her part. The affirmative knowledge comes to me in her soft sighs as she grazes, or her sharp whinny & full tilt run towards me when I call her name in the pasture, a sure sign that my horse enjoys the time we spend together as much as I do.

Am I saying you shouldn’t ride your horse, or that they shouldn’t be made to do things they don’t want to do? No, absolutely not. I’m writing this to raise your awareness to the possibilities that exists when we open our hearts and minds to our equine friends, and lessen our human expectations and agendas.

I see my horses as I see my clients Capable, Creative, Resourceful, & Whole. ❤ Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear what you do with your equine friends out of the saddle!
-Coach Amanda


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