“So?” you ask, “What is it that you contribute to the conversation when it comes to horsemanship, training, horseback-riding? You are not a professional. No products are scrambling to sponsor you. (Horse.com has asked you for product recommendations, but this doesn’t count.) You have never galloped bareback up hills as a child, nor were you raised around horses or people who had any understanding of them. You don’t win medals, get your picture taken for magazines, or charge oodles of money for people to attend your clinics. So why should I care what you have to say?”
Well, got a minute? I can explain…
I have loved the equine species since my very first memory of it, be it in life or in a picture book. During summers in Greece, I would feel my heart skip a beat at the mere sight of a long-eared donkey struggling under the weight of hay bales taller than our car.
The plaintive braying of just such a gaidouri brought tears to my eyes as its laments pierced my soul. And yet, of any four-legged equine, I was terrified! The affectionate, complaisant look on an adult’s face when they had it within their power to satisfy my desperate desire to be near a horse or donkey would quickly dissolve into annoyance and aggravation when I suddenly froze and could not be coaxed closer than a car length to the beast. No amount of explanation, physical force, or yelling could get me to control my bladder or my fear. It seemed hopeless.
Anytime I was somehow put on top of a horse or donkey, tragedy ensued. They would take off on me, bite me, try to kick me, and confirm my worst fears—that they could only be enjoyed by others and, by me, only from afar.
But, life has a funny way of opening doors of understanding and opportunity for you when you least expect it. And mine came later in life, in my early 20s. I will leave that story for another time, but, just know that, when the door to let horses into my life was opened, I jumped through it. And the doors kept opening to more and more horsey experiences that continued to enrich my life, lessen my fear, and give me a deeper understanding of myself and my interactions with horses.
That’s not to say the road was easy and smooth. It was still full of potholes, speed bumps, and all-out collisions. I’ll tell you about them, slowly, so as not to overwhelm, in this blog. But, for now, know that each one moved me forward rather than back. And, along this journey came four children born in four different countries to a bi-cultural, harmonious marriage. Competitive athletics on various continents enriched my journey (tennis, soccer, volleyball), as did sedentary pursuits (writing, screenwriting, editing). My culinary and hosting abilities grew in tandem with my family and taught me even more about myself and others. And, all these facets of my journey have nourished in me a deeper understanding of myself and of two kinds of nature: human and equine.
The journey is far from over! I have much, much more to learn, but I can honestly say that the road is getting smoother and much more enjoyable as I travel along it.
And in enjoying my life with horses and humans even more, I am ready to contribute positively to the many conversations we all need to have in order to fully experience the richness of life. My hard-earned insights, I hope, will help you and others receive more joy from your interactions with horses and humans and help you to apply lessons learned to your horsemanship, parenting, marriage, friendships, athletic pursuits, and, yes, even to your jobs. This is the role I hope to play.
So, stick around…you might learn something from my experiences. And, in return, share yours to teach me, too!