For Sugar

People ask me all the time what connects girls to horses. After 25 years of searching, the answer is simple; trust.


What causes a little girl to wrap her tiny hand around the gnarled cotton rope and breathlessly tug as she walks away assuming that 1,000 lbs of pure flesh and bone will follow ? Is it delusion? Arrogance? It doesn’t really matter because the 1,000 lbs at the end of the rope is looking trustingly as he follows her. No matter how many times I put girls and horses together, it amazes me every time.

Every horse story is a story about trust in spite of the evidence. Every horse understands that hope inevitably leads to disappointment, but that trust leads to new possibilities.

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.

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. They try to unlock the secrets of the horse/girl bond. But it’s not until a girl’s heart has been broken, her best friend has moved away or until she’s have been shunned by those you thought were supposed to love her that she realizes the depth of effort that it takes for a horse to trust. Only then can she appreciate the fragile beauty of the horse and their power to let 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 ourselves 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 ride is an exercise in forgiveness.

This is what bonds women to horses. This is what causes them 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 her legs can no longer carry you, that her back will no longer support you, when her belly can no longer tolerate the dried, processed food that you feed her, lays her beautiful head in your lap as the doctor injects the poison that will stop her heart. She takes one last trusting look at you before she sighs her final breath.

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