Winston’s Wisdom

Breathing deeply in the presence of a horse can completely transform how one experiences the moment.

Kathy Pike

One of the incredible things about horses is that they are both highly sensitive, and can react instantly to a bag flying in the wind, or an unfamiliar sound – and they quickly return to the present, and return to grazing, once the startling moment passes. Human beings are not generally like this. We become alarmed, and then our mechanistic thoughts can take over, and take us into a spiral of doom. Returning to right here, right now, this moment can be challenging, and sometimes, may feel impossible.

For me this week – I started out with the intention of being able to sit on, and possibly ride at a walk with Winston. This has not happened yet. I signed up for a week long free course with Irish Horsewoman and acclaimed filmmaker Elaine Heney (link), and invited a good friend and horsewoman to join me so that we could motivate once another and share our experiences. Neither my friend nor I could keep up with the course, even at just 20 minutes to 30 minutes a day, we just were not able to get it done. Those mechanistic thoughts of failure and defeat showed up.

Then, work issues came up that kept me online and in complex conversations and problem solving, leaving no time to visit the farm with the days getting shorter as we head toward the winter solstice. Then it came. A call from the doctor, one I had been anticipating though not focusing on, with some news that took my mind down an instant path of anxiety and despair. Being able to noticing the nature of those thoughts on the drive home from work, and taking a moment to return to the present as my experience with horses and through coaching and self-development work has trained me, meant being able to release all of those stories and drive to the farm despite there only being a short amount of time before dark, and the type of high winds that can make a horse antsy.

I decided to just go and “be” with Winston, sharing his space and his energy. When it came down to it, we just really wanted to be with one another, present – not worrying about what was next on our journey, the tasks of the course, of the stress of life. Just being, with one another, taking one breath at a time. I am so grateful to be on this journey with him, as he continues to remind me to slow right down. When I arrived he was so glad to see me, he came right to the gate as if to say “I’m ready, let’s go have an adventure.” We didn’t have to go far, just step outside the paddock to have some quality 1:1 time. I saw him perk his ears as he shook his head, his mane blowing while the wind blew fiercely around us. He demonstrated grounded confidence, and his perspective that the wind (and the unknown) could be enjoyable, if one approached it from that energetic space. This message reminded me of a quote that I feel speaks to this very idea:

When the roots are deep, there is no reason to fear the wind.

African Proverb

This is the first of many moments of wisdom I plan to share from this generous guide. Thank you Winston 💕. I am keeping a record of Winston’s wise words, and sharing them over on Instagram. If you haven’t started following our journey there – we can be found @joystoneequine

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