There is a beautiful thing you can do with horses, to gain their trust and build the singing line of connection between you. This is: go to the field, and hang out, and ask absolutely nothing of them. You have no goals, no expectations, no desires. You simply exist, with those ravishing sentient creatures, and be present in the moment.
There’s such a purity to this, and it is where all the magic starts. What I especially love about it is that it contains a central paradox: you are doing nothing, but you are doing everything.
Of course, it’s not quite nothing. It requires astonishing amounts of self-discipline, just to be. The temptation is always there to ask for something - love, relaxation, a brilliant and unexpected move. Every time that comes cantering towards you, you have to let it go.
I feel there is a parallel with human life. Imagine how lovely it would be if everyone allowed you to be your own sweet self, without expecting you to feel a certain way or react a certain way or do a certain thing. Imagine if they loved being with you, just the way you are. I think that person would adore you forever.
Someone told me today of a loss. It’s one of the big griefs. When this happens, I have to remind myself of what I’ve learned with my horses. Everything in me wants to wade in and fix it. I want to make it better. I want to think of the perfect words, even though the big griefs don’t really have words to go with them. (Words, I have discovered, in the face of heartbreak, become thin and paltry.)
I can’t quite do this with humans in the way I can do it with my mares. But I’m working on it. It’s a privilege, when someone trusts you with a profound emotion, and the least you can do is be still, and give them space, and let them be. You are there, and that matters. You can listen. You can open your own heart, and remember all the times when it was smashed to pieces, and understand that everybody cracks in different ways.
It’s not easy, but I think it is worth trying. I believe in trying, and that is what I will go on doing, until they carry me out feet first.