Excerpts: -A horse's acceptance remains one of my earliest memories of belonging. While I struggled to find who I was and would be as a person, horses gave me my first intimation of what acceptance and belonging could feel like.
- When I was a girl of six, I thought I was the only girl-horse in the land. Now I know horses touch the souls of many women.
- Horses are giant yet generous with their strength, their power, and their gentle affection. By their very nature, they embody and resolve the contradictions we all struggle with: They are strong and soft, calm and driven, wild and manageable, needy and independent. In the presence of horses, our impulses of nurturing and our urgent needs of support, strength and confidence come together, live together and express themselves together without the noise of intellectualism. We see that the horse lives its own life, speaks in its own way, moves where it needs to go. Its directness and simplicity offer a thousand-pound counterpoint to our own complicated and often less honest human interactions. The horse shows us how to be complete.
-When a woman first meets the horse, she feels fear and awe, respect and caution, excitement and reserve. She reaches out to stroke the horse's side and remembers the first touch of a lover's hand. The soothing warmth of connecting with another spirit with its own power and its own passion washes over her. She runs her fingers through the horse's mane and looks into his eyes, finding there a companion who says "Let's go places together. Everything is better with me." As she strokes the velvet muzzle, he licks her fingers and softens his gaze, lowering his head and extending himself to her in a way that makes her heart swell and race at the same time.
Later she questions the encounter. She puzzles over the tangle of fear and inspiration-even euphoria-the moment brought her and wonders if she could have only imagined a connection with this great and elusive animal. From unfamiliar recesses of her being, new longings push into her consciousness. She imagines being lifted to the horse's back and carried to far-off places. She is tempted. She must see the horse again.
And she does. The next time she approaches with her hand held out in a tentative gesture of greeting, and he reciprocates by pointing his ears toward her and nosing at her fingers. He has smelled this hand before but he checks once again, just to be sure. She responds by stepping closer, running her hand up his nose and gently scratching between his eyes.
He lowers his head, blinks. He is saying "All right. I'll let you into my world". She steps around to his side and moves his mane out of the way to stroke his neck. As it did the first time, the warmth of connection washes over her. She feels the definition of the muscular yet swan-like neck. He's enjoying this too; she knows because he doesn't turn away.
She begins to think of the horse more personally. She notices the variety of colors in his coat hairs and how they sparkle in the sunlight, the texture of his mane and how the threads taper down his neck perfectly to shield him from the weather when he is still but lift and float to add symmetry to his shape when he begins to run. She sees fluff inside his ears and is surprised to discover that each ear swivels independently of the other but that both follow her body and her noises, as do those great liquid eyes, which track her every step. Even his breathing matches hers, speeding up and slowing down with her own.
In the horse, she glimpses a model for escaping everyday stress and releasing everyday pressures. She feels a sense of wellness she can take back into her hectic life. Her emotions stir, her instincts are fed, she draws nearer to her own sensual self. A horse's home environment gives the woman sanctuary where she can experience each moment of life in its singular perfection or imperfection. She believes the horse will lead her to a peaceful place within herself.
This is enough for now. It is enough for her to know the first encounter was not a dream. On her way home, she decides she could never live life without revisiting and reinvestigating these insights. It is as if her life started when she met the horse. Before that it was all just practice.