You Get To Define Your Own Dream
Do you dream of getting your first horse? Or getting back into horses as an adult? I hope and pray that you turn that dream into reality and my advice to you is to be open about how it happens and what it looks like.
I’ve loved horses all my life, but no one supported my passion for them through my childhood. My stepmom facilitated my first ever horse experience when I was about 4 years old, telling me we were going strawberry picking and to go get my wellies. To my surprise, and glee, instead of taking me to the strawberry patch she drove to a stable and I had my first riding lesson.
As the years went on, I had sporadic riding lessons whenever I could, often from pocket money saved over time from my Nan and Grandad, but it wasn’t until I was 13 that I was able to get into horses consistently. Nobody in my life understood my love or need for horses. Nevertheless, I was determined to make it happen for myself, and I did!
From 13-16, I worked at a local riding school in return for lessons. I was eventually able to put some money in my pocket, and welcomed a welsh cob gelding, Chance, into my life on loan before his owner moved from England to Wales.
At 16 years old, I moved away from home to gain my horse qualifications and education. However, due to the relationship I was in at the time, I returned to my hometown.
At 17 years old I became pregnant and found myself living in a homeless hostel for mothers and babies. At 18, and once settled in our own home, I returned to a local riding school to complete my qualifications. Although I desperately wanted to work with horses, I was unable to make this a viable option as a single mum. I needed to focus on my daughter’s needs and chose a career that would enable me to provide the best for her, so I made the decision to attend university and become a Social Worker.
Over the following years, I dabbled in the world of horses and rode whenever I could, but it wasn’t enough!
A lifetime later, after getting married, moving to Australia, and raising my daughter, I found another horse to lease, Evo, another part Welshie. I took regular classical dressage lessons and attended adult riders.
However, life took over as it does, and once again I found myself only being able to occasionally ride friends’ horses.
Then my daughter turned 16 years old and I decided it was time to have my own horse. I imagined having a horse that I could ride, maybe even participating in a few local shows. I was so excited! My dream of getting my first horse was about to become reality.
I visited a few horses, but none were a match until Lucy. At first, I looked at ridden horses, I wanted something to ride regularly and go to shows with occasionally. I had so many big ideas for me and my future horse!
However, the more I looked at ridden horses, the more the idea of getting an unbacked horse started slipping into my mind. I was driving home one day and an Eagle flew right in front of me. Eagles have always been a sign for me to follow my heart. I decided to lean into that guidance and started looking for unbacked horses.
I loved the idea of having a totally blank slate. I thought if I got a young horse I could train using the methods I had been learning through my classical dressage lessons, combined with pressure release training. I knew people I could send my new horse to for backing and begin the foundation training for me. I had a plan.
After looking at quite a few horses I was tired in my search and ready for a break. Nothing was quite right! Then of course, when I was least expecting it, Lucy’s face popped up on Facebook in a buy and sell advert. It was a Sunday morning and by Sunday afternoon she was mine. We drove over 3 hours to see her, negotiating with her current owner to be there that day, despite the fact that she was out of town!
When I arrived, I got out of the car and Lucy’s owner hugged me, sharing that she got shivers down her spine. She was confident Lucy was meant to be with me and in my heart she was already mine.
The Beginning of our Journey
Lucy had just turned 3 years old the month prior and was a fairly untrained youngster with BIG ideas. Even walking her on a halter rope was dicey at times! Nevertheless, I was determined to learn and so we began our journey. My lessons commenced pretty much straight away, I found out VERY quickly that Lucy HATED pressure release training!! She actually took me off my feet with a swift kick during one lesson and put me on crutches for 2 weeks.
Over the following six months or so, Lucy rebelled, refused, and when I failed to listen, she became what many would call “dangerous.” The poor girl was communicating her needs to me, and I was failing to hear them! She was teaching me the magic of mares, it just took me time to figure it out.
Allowing her to have a say in the way we interacted opened my eyes to an entirely new world. Lucy responded SO well. The more free choice I gave her, the more she blossomed and tried for me and that’s when we truly began to build our relationship.
Getting Your First Horse
When you bring your first horse home, many people will have opinions and judgements and tell you how you should act and what you should do. These people mean well! But what truly matters is how their advice feels to you and your horse.
The luxury of waiting until you are older is that you have that life experience, and you know what feels right and wrong. When you are a child you are just told what to do and you don’t get that opportunity to question what is going on around you. Listen to your horse and your gut.
If you get that feeling that you don’t think something is right, you owe it to your new horse to speak up and put a stop to whatever it is. You and your horse don’t need to be on any specific timeline. Most people would say that Lucy is “behind” because she is unbacked at 7 years old, with no plans to back her either!
Lucy gets to progress at her pace on her own timeline. It doesn’t matter if we are behind what most people think is correct. It doesn’t matter if we never get “there.” What matters is that we build a strong relationship, and we enjoy the journey together.
The Same Goes for You and Your Horse
It can be difficult to go against what is “normal” or considered “right” especially if you keep your horse somewhere everyone else is doing something different. You may feel alone at times, lost, or like you bit off more than you can chew.
You may even wonder if the path that you are taking is right and if you are “good enough” for your horse. You are good enough for your horse because you see them completely and leave space for them to have and express emotions.
You are good enough for your horse because you let your intuition and heart guide your journey instead of the need to fit in.
I promise, if you are here, reading this and asking these questions and working to understand your horse better, you are good enough! Even if someone tells you that your horse is too much or you don’t have the skills to handle them. That is THEIR expectations and their insecurities about themselves coming out. It has nothing to do with you.
Many of us carry guilt and shame when it comes to our horses, often stemming from past events or current uncertainties.
If you are struggling with:
- Emotions around how you were taught to treat horses in the past
- A past horse-related trauma
- Confidence to stand up and set a boundary with other humans
- Feeling alone in your journey with horses
Take the FREE Bach Flower Remedy Assessment. It will help you understand which remedies can release those traumas and emotions stored in your body so you can enjoy the dream of building a positive relationship with your first horse. It comes with a fantastic meditation that can aid in your journey.
Take the FREE Bach Flower Remedy Assessment
Have a Happy Day