Is it trust then that causes you to wrap your tiny hand around the gnarled cotton rope and breathlessly tug as you walk away assuming that 1000 lbs of pure flesh and bone will follow you quietly? Is it delusion? Or arrogance? It doesn’t really matter because the 1000 lbs at the end of the rope is looking at you trustingly as he follows you. No matter who you are, you know that this is amazing.
It’s trust that caused this same God-like creature to allow another feeble human to load him into a starting gate and demand that he runs faster than his fragile legs can travel. The same trust that allowed some more crazy people to load him into a van that brought him to you.
Every horse story is a story about trust in spite of the evidence. Every horse understands that hope leads inevitably to disappointment, but that trust leads to new possibilities.
There are people will offer to teach you to teach your horse to trust. They will sell you a book, a whip (?) a weekend seminar and try to unlock the secrets of the horse/girl bond. But it’s not until your heart has been broken, your best friend has moved away or until you have been shunned by those you thought were supposed to love you that you realize the depth of effort that it takes for a horse to trust you. Only then can you appreciate her fragile beauty and her power in letting us “in.”
People ask me all the time what connects girls to horses. After 25 years of searching, the answer is simple; trust. As girls, we recognize the ability to throw ourselves to the fates without resigning ourselves to defeat. We know how to keep certain parts of yourself sacred while allowing the rest of you to be controlled, led, vanquished. Somehow we know that the prancing horse in the show ring doing tricks manages to retain her own haughtiness, her own boundries even while she dances for the crowd. We are forever awed by the fact that our own horse allows us to climb upon his back and urge him with impatient knees into places where predators lurk. He will allow us to do it again and again. Each rideis an exercise in forgiveness.
This is what bonds women to horses. This is what causes us to forsake boyfriends, money, clean clothes and mall shopping. This is the stuff of daydreams and fantasy.
This trust is so profound that the same horse, on the day when you decide that his legs can no longer carry you, that his back will no longer support you, when his belly can no longer tolerate the dried, processed food that you feed him, lays his beautiful head in your lap as the doctor injects the poison that will stop his heart. He takes one last trusting look at you before he sighs his final breath.