It's hard to describe the experience I had with my horses today. I went out to the pasture to try out a new technique that I am excited to be practicing: dictation. Some of the horsey mentors and healers in my life suggested I just give it a go, especially with Fara. All you basically do is head out to the field with a pen and paper, and set the intention of connecting with the horse. Then, just write down anything that comes to mind on your sheet, with no regard for logical flow, coherence or potential meaning. You can write with your non-dominant hand to bypass your conscious mind, too, if you feel like it. I paid attention to any images, words or colours that sprung to mind, while I simultaneously tried to track the feelings in my body.
I do admit, it felt a little silly and bizarre to be out there attempting this. Do I have any business trying to channel my horses, and connect with the 'supernatural' realm? How am I to know these messages are coming through them and aren't just products of my own mind? The doubts and questions were abundant, and I couldn't help but feel uncomfortable and a little strange. But I also wanted it to work! So I continued to breathe deeply and focus my attention as best I could on the task.
What resulted was not so much tangible messages, but a deep sense of vulnerability in my system that was quite a lot to feel. It is quite a cold day today, so I ended up getting up to leave fairly quickly to get inside to warmth again - but I can almost guarantee you I was also experiencing a strong flight response. I wanted to flee that intense vulnerability that was growing and creeping through my gut and chest, making me feel almost a bit faint.
I ended up sitting down in front of my journal at my desk, because I knew it was in this feeling that the real message was contained.
I am fairly (and unfortunately) confident when I say that I know many of us have faced trauma and abuses in the equestrian industry. Especially if we started riding young, and were involved in competitions, training schedules and/or structured lessons, a lot of us had the misfortune of coming across less-than-compassionate trainers and horse-people along our paths.
I still deal with the aftermath of my particular story on a regular basis. Thanks to seeking many different kinds of help, changing the physical parameters of my situation, and sheer willingness to keep showing up for myself and my mare, this experience has softened considerably over the years. But make no mistake - it is still present for me. It still hurts me. And that is a feeling that I really struggle with. When will this finally go away, and be done for me? Haven't I suffered enough? These people don't even know what they did to me.... how can they still have so much power over me?
Although equally heartbreaking and valid, these questions usually only serve to re-harm me by taking me further away from myself.
My particular experience in the horse industry left me feeling like I didn't have a voice, and totally compromised my ability to stay rooted in my truth and trust myself. Over the years that I have been trying to heal this experience, the best remedy has always been to find a way to gather around myself. To feel each part of me; to be integrated so that I can connect with my wholeness, in the most rudimentary sense of the word.
The hardest part about my experience was that it made me feel that I was not the expert on my own experience - a term that I've come to realize as gaslighting. The pain of being put at odds with myself has always been greater than the actual encounters with the perpetrators themselves. And it has taken a lot of time to realize that nuance. It's the severance and disconnection I felt within myself that has truly always been the most confusing and painful.
Mercifully, I think horses naturally remind us of our wholeness and are there as patient space-holders for our constant evolution. To me, that was the message that came through in my dictation today, and it was wildly unexpected and extremely confronting and totally needed.
Grace for my imperfect humanity and knowing I am held by them, and by myself.
They encourage me to see my sacred place in the herd, and we are safe together.
This is a thank you to my horses for the loving knowing that I am being held. I needed that❤️
From the archives: a warm day in October