When I was about 8 years old, maybe even younger, my mother put me on the back of a horse I felt intimidated by the height of the horse, but at the same time I was fascinated by the whole experience. Fear gave way to excitement, and the beginning of a lifelong passion was born.
I could tell endless stories about my life with horses, but everyone other than my ‘horsy friends’ would be bored to death. I will keep my story short while I encourage and coach you to find your way to balance and inner peace, not to turn you into a jockey.
I was fortunate to be able to grow up with horses, spending most of my younger years at horse barns grooming horses and digging in horse manure. I remember vividly the pain I went through when my parents got divorced. I started failing at school. I felt lost. My mom, who has always been a wise and compassionate woman, never punished me for my steadily decreasing grades and instead bought our first horse. She knew that healing comes from inside and that my love for horses would do the job. She was so right, and I will always be grateful for her generosity and wisdom. Needless to say, my grades improved again and I learned to live with the breakdown of my parents’ marriage. Kids sooner or later normally recover from their parents divorcing, but it sure felt good at the time to have a big hairy friend who loved me unconditionally. No matter where you live – in big cities like San Francisco, Santa Barbara and Sacramento or in small Paso Robles – pain happens and needs healing. This is the time when we need friends and a network of support – even a friendship to a four legged creature can help you ease your pain.
When I was in my late twenties and earning regular income, I bought myself a horse. The horse of my youth was retired to pasture. It was time to get my partner for my adult life. Unfortunately or luckily, I already had a human life partner who wanted to participate in the “investment” of buying a horse. The relationship did not survive, in part due to the horse, and I learned a major lesson in my life: “Men go, horses stay.” Derrick the horse had all my love for many years and also took all my money for his upkeep and vet bills. As costly as this love was, it was totally worth it. Riding and caring for Derrick kept me calm when times got rough. I always had a place to withdraw and reconnect.
Later in my life, as a high strung senior manager in the advertising industry, I never needed a human therapist. Derrick was all I needed, taking most of my free time and money and allowing me to devote myself to his needs. There was no time to ponder and worry about my own feelings when I had to get up early to get Derrick ready for a ride at 6:30 am in the morning and then get changed from riding gear into my office clothes in the dusty old restroom in the barn.
When I met my husband I was finally able to share my passion with someone on the same path. Yes, the passion that had once divided me from a human partner in my previous life is what keeps me closely connected with my husband today.
Horses have been with me for virtually all of my life. Today when I enter the barn in the morning, I feel peace and love. I still have great joy in everything involved with my horses (except the inevitable vet bills). I am offering workshops with horses where we teach non-verbal communication, leadership, self-awareness and how to develop healthy relationships.
The love I carry in my heart for horses is a blessing. They taught me that loving is living. In my book “Be a Woman and Act Like One, Succeeding in Business and Life” I reflect on these life lessons and pass this experience on to you. Living a life filled with love will keep you close to yourself and to others – the result is happiness. What else can we ask for in life?
Be a woman and act like one.