I want to dedicate my second blog / story to Chuck Mintzlaff. I don’t know Chuck personally, but he is someone who stepped straight into my heart when I first became aware of his work. Chuck’s work is with horses; mine, at the moment, with people. I would like mine to be with both very soon. Chuck’s words rang so true for me in my work as a Counsellor/Dramatherapist and I think as a lesson to humankind. As an example, people who are labelled as having challenging behaviours – do we ever examine ourselves and wonder if something we are doing might be the cause of this? Once someone has this label, I doubt this does happen. This is mirrored or even magnified in the equine world. Chuck challenges this in our way of being with horses. If you don’t know his work, please do have a look at http://friendshiptraining.org/
A little preamble before my story…I have had, I imagine like many others, a little obsession with horses since I was a very young girl. What might be different is I never wanted to ride. I remember believing that you couldn’t appreciate a horse when you were on his/her back. I think connection was very important to me and I would have needed a face for that! I used to think that horses had another set of eyes in their nostrils. I don’t think that was such a misguided belief…horses have the most amazing ability to sense throughout their bodies.
On to my story; when I was seventeen I used to work in what we called a blood factory. I used to help process blood products for people with haemophilia. I also used to work behind the bar in the social club. This particular night I had accepted a few drinks whilst working throughout the night, so left feeling a little unsteady. I lived about three miles away across country and at the time I feared nothing! I crossed a stile and as I began walking across this field I suddenly became aware of eyes watching me. Many eyes in a circle around me and they seemed to be closing in. I felt a surge of terror and began to run. I turned briefly to seeing a herd of horses running after me. I swerved towards a little copse but as I ran in I began sinking in the mud. Within a few moments I had sunk up to my thighs. I remained still. unsure what to do. If I moved, would I continue to sink? I thought the probably all too familiar thought that this wasn’t happening to me, and as I did, I looked up. One of the horses was moving his head down towards me. I wish I could say I trusted him/her and accepted their help, but I was too scared and pulled myself out on some rusty fencing and ran home. My adventure and all the thoughts and feelings that ran through me came to an abrupt end as I was commanded by my mother to take off all my dirty clothes on the doorstep!
I often think of my memory of this night and I feel sad my fear took over from my sense of what might have been going on. I have thought and still think that horses are incredibly sensitive beings. I truly believe we need to look at what we can learn from them.