When I think of a place that makes me feel at peace with myself or a place where I feel my happiest I think of the horses.
The barn is a magical place where the herd is found. A sacred bond that I’m blessed with sharing with these beautiful creatures. The herd is the family of the horse. A collective understanding in ones existence in nature and creation.
There was one horse in particular that I admired. I met her when I was fifteen and desperate for anything to make me feel whole and alive again. Her name was Tivey, short for Tiwara. She was a Polish Arabian mare with loads of sass and attitude. But she also had a heart so loving and soft I couldn’t imagine an animal with a bigger heart. Her personality lit something inside me I thought died long ago. She taught me how to believe in myself. She taught me that I have a voice and I deserve to be heard and seen and worthy of adventure and love.
High school wasn’t fun for me and most days I came home feeling shame and fear after being the bitt of everyone’s jokes and bullied to the point that I didn’t want to live anymore. When I was with her I felt loved and accepted. I was part of her herd. I had finally found my family at the barn with these amazing creatures. Even though they didn’t speak the same language as me they understood when I was sad and when I was beating myself up. They offered their companionship and comfort to me without question.
I think it’s the nature therapy that comes with being with the horses. I feel free here. The first thing I notice is the smell of horse hair and shit and hay. I don’t know how to explain it, but it’s the perfect combination to fill your nostrils. It’s the first sensation of freedom I feel when I step foot into the barn.
The other magical thing about the barn is that it’s so quiet and serene. If you listen you can hear tails whooshing and hooves stomping, maybe even a snort here and there. You can hear the wind rustling in the trees and tickling the hair on your arms. It’s a beautiful moment to be in the open field experiencing something so beyond yourself that you can’t even speak.
Tivey had blonde hair and white fur with speckles of brown and orange. She was the perfect mix of fall and summer — my two favorite seasons. She had the sparkliest eyes and her lashes were white which contrasted so beautifully. She was my queen.
We spent everyday together out in the field eating grass and clover, in her stall brushing her mane and tail until they were super soft and bounced when she walked. She loves to be pampered. On the weekends we would ride in the arena where my friend gave us lessons every week. She loved to work and was always ready to ride. Even in her old age she was unstoppable. You couldn’t get the saddle in her quick enough sometimes.
One of my favorite things about her was her attitude and her confidence. This horse didn’t give a shit about anyone else but herself, her humans, and her herd. Being a part of the herd was her reason. She believed in her community members, even the horses she didn’t like.
Tivey taught me to stand up for myself and to speak my truth even if it was scary at first. Was able to stand up to the bullies at school and I found my place in the world.
So as I’m here in this space with the horse I will be grateful for all that I have. The good. The bad. Everything in between. I have to say: I miss that blonde girl like crazy and I would give anything to spend another summer afternoon with her. We could take a walk together and I could brush her hair and tell her how pretty she was. I would braid flowers and yarn into her strands and show her off to the world.
She was my world for a long time.
What is your happy place? Where is the place you go to feel your best? Do you go to this place often? What resonates in your heart and you come to this sacred space? I hope you find as much love and acceptance as I do here with the land of the horse.