My Personal journey....
My story starts out when I went to meet my first horse: As this young horse is standing in front of me and I’m looking into her eyes, I see fear and uncertainty, but more than that I see a lost individual seeking for someone to understand. In a way I’m seeing myself… being bullied at school, rejected by whom I regarded my friends and family, being judged, criticized… This all leaves me with the impression that I am not and will never be good enough, pretty enough or tough enough. So, I decide to take this horse home, and name her Flicka, meaning beautiful girl, because that’s what she could be, even if others were calling her ugly and stupid.
Through the years I look for society’s approval. I eat less to become thinner and thinner, become conscious about how I look, what I wear, how I style my hair, and I try to become strong by becoming this tough horse trainer who can handle any horse. Any emotion of needing to be softer I shove down, because I need to be tough, need to be strong, need to be perfect… Other areas of horse care I’m forced to take on because I don’t have money to pay for professionals, but I do it half-heartedly because I don’t think that I will be good enough to do it well.
I finally get to a place where I feel better, good enough, tough enough. The trainer who doesn’t stand back but is able to handle the difficult horses. I have everything under control andknow what I’m doing. But something is still missing, I’m everything I need to be, but I don’t have the relationship with my horses that I wanted, they are becoming less and less willing to work with me… They are losing their joy and I don’t know why. Maybe I just need to be tougher, better, then something will change.
I’m then asked to train another horse, a black mare coming from a bad home. I can give her a name so I decide to name her Elvira, meaning truth. She is broken, emotionally and physically, but I prevent myself from feeling as weak as she is. I’m trying tough and forceful training methods, then I try to be gentler with natural horsemanship, but the more I am trying to get her under control the more dangerous she is becoming. I don’t understand. Why isn’t she just giving in?” But more importantly why am I not succeeding? Nothing is working… I’m failing, day after day. Maybe I’m really not good enough,even as a trainer… maybe I’m just a failure, in everything…
“…This all is leaving me with the impression that I am not and will never be good enough, pretty enough or tough enough…”
I’m looking through my Instagram and I see a trainer overseas who has a whole different viewpoint on working with horses. I’ve never even heard of anything she’s talking about but she seems to have this wonderful partnership with her horses, by this point I’m willing to try anything, but I will need to change everything… leave everything I know behind… learn about horses all over again.
The more I start experimenting with this new way of training, the more I start to realise how much I was holding onto having control over my horses, but in the process I was taking away their voice and forcing them to obey. The more I think about this, the more I discover that I’m also doing this with my closest family, the ones that HAVE been there for me. And then it hits me, the problem isn’t how difficult Elvira is, the problem is me… it’s the person that I thought I needed to become, tough and in control, and it’s this that is preventing me from connecting with Elvira.
What I’ve been doing through my way of training has been fueling the fire inside of me, the anger, the hurt from being told I knew nothing, that my horses were stupid, that I was too soft, not worth it, not doing enough, not being enough… I initially started out wanting to help, but ended up becoming the person I wanted to protect my horses from. As I’m realizing this I break down…with the tears running down my face I start apologizing to my horses. This isn’t who I am, it’s what I became because that’s what I felt I needed to become in order to be successful, to be recognized, to be accepted… While apologizing a weight is lifted of my shoulders,it feels good not to pretend to be strong anymore, to take off the facade.
“…I initially started out wanting to help, but ended up becoming the person I wanted to protect my horses from…”
I start diving deep into this new way of interacting with horses, watching every video, reading every post, listening to every podcast. And I start practicingfalling in love with horses again, letting go of my anger, of my need to have control, and of the fake me so that I can get in touch with the person I truly am. I’m healing as I help them heal.
For the first time I’m getting real success, true trust, and Elvira starts to voluntarily run around with me without me even training her for it. This is it!This is the connection I wanted all along, and now I am also giving her a voice and helping her heal. The haters don’t matter, what matters is my horses and who I want to be as a person. What others say about me doesn’t define me, just as what they say about my horses don’t define them. I have been good enough all along, my softness is my strength, it is what makes me able to relate to my horses and truly connect with them. I think back to when I first met Flicka, the brokenness I saw in her eyes; THAT was what I wanted to help her with. I didn’t want to become the best trainer in the world, I just wanted to help her not be afraid and to make her feel loved.
“…And I start practicing; practicing falling in love with horses again, letting go of my anger, of my need to have control…”
As my journey with training started making sense, my journey into health took a turn.
There was something wrong with Paige, another one of our horses, who could barely walk. It seems like a muscle issue, but the vet can’t diagnose anything and just gives medicine, which only brings some relief the first day. Then two more horses get the same issue. This is devastating and no one can tell me what it is. We get another vet… nothing. Finally, the third vet diagnoses the problem; chronic laminitis,a very painful condition. The vet tells us that if something doesn’t change soon, we will need to put down all three. Half of our herd… Everything the vet suggests I either can’t afford or it will reduce their quality of life drastically. I refuse to accept having to result to putting them all down. But where do I even begin, where do I turn to? I need to search for answers, for solutionsand I need to get them healthy again.
I realise I can’t just be halfway committed to their health, I have to fully jump in. I spend days researching, looking for solutions, and I find some kind individuals along the way who are willing to help teach and educate me, so I start taking action. I change the horses trimming, which I take over completely with my new knowledge, I alsochange their herbs which I started learning about ever since the day Flicka got sick two years ago, and I make changes to their lifestyle. Every day they start improving and keep improving. Today they are all still here, living out on pasture 24/7, able to run around with their herd.
While working with horses, especially Elvira, I also began to heal. I learned that I didn’t need to be in control and I didn’t need to prove myself to others, I just needed to love myself for who I was and enjoy the moment. Now I’m the owner of TrulyTrust Equine where I help horses heal mentally and physically. I don’t force horses to obey but let them choose and let their voice be heard. I’m constantly expanding into more and more areas of holistic horse health which I’ve found to be a great passion of mine, helping to uncover every horse’s true value and potential by peeling off the layers of damage. Just as I needed to go through a journey of finding my true value, and help my horses recover, so am I now helping owners heal the damage done to their own horses. I’M THANKFUL FOR THIS JOURNEY AND EXCITED TO BE APART OF YOURS!