In our Journey Circle today we talked about how trauma can be repeated throughout our lives. For example, I broke my left femur when I was 11 years old and I can’t say how many times I’ve re-injured my left knee or hip since then. Today, I shared how I see these kinds of patterns repeated in the lives of rescue horses. No matter how many owners the horses have in their lives, the story is the same. Some horses starve, are “rescued” and then starved by the people that rescued them, and I’m not talking one cycle of this, but repeated cycles. Other horses attract owners that aren’t experienced enough for them, and the horse gets passed on to one owner and then the next because they are considered “too dangerous”. Really the horse never has the chance to connect with humans and learn how to be around them. It is no fault of their own.
When I lived at the horse rescue a horse named Little Bit (we called her “Bits” for short) and my mare, Cherokee, were the very, very best of friends. This meant I got to know Bits very well. You see, my horse Cherokee used to be incredibly hard to catch and while I was out in the pasture taking the time it takes to catch Cherokee, Bits would follow me around, cuddle with me, and nuzzle me. Whatever rejection I felt from Cherokee was soothed by Bits’ constant presence.
|Cherokee’s “Crew” from left to right: Ginger Snap, Cherokee, Star, and Little Bit. All now have forever homes.
I became so enamored with Bits that I ventured to take the relationship further by haltering her and taking her out of the pasture. That was a disaster. She’d try to run me over, bolt, and do whatever it took to get back to her herd. I was keenly aware of how far she had to go. With enough of a project in Cherokee, I never could commit to giving Bits the education she so desperately needed. So instead, I advocated for her. In fact, I worked to start an entire training program at the rescue with Bits in mind. When we had the program running I assigned her to the best trainers we had. To my chagrin she still wasn’t able to find a home. To my delight the training program continued on after I left.
Ever since moving from the rescue I’ve followed Bits’ progress and inquired about her health. For two long years she’s been in and out of training and despite the hurdle of a mild lameness issue and the relocation of her primary trainer she’s made steady progress. I had a couple opportunities to visit her in that time and she always remembered me. She’d come up to me like she always did and bury her head in my chest. It brought tears to my eyes. She was such an amazing friend to me.
This evening I learned that Bits finally has been able to move on from her past and find a great home. It’s a reminder that although we do unconsciously repeat ugly patterns in our lives that we can shift them. It may not happen as quickly as we’d like and we won’t be able to do it ourselves. We need to trust that the right people will cross our paths to help guide us along. We need to work hard, very hard, and persevere.
Today with her guidance, I remember that change happens in little “Bits” at a time and my heart swells with the memory of those warm nuzzles forward.