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Wild Horses Run Free – Connecting with Equines

Wild Horses Run Free – Connecting with Equines
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BY JILL MATLOW

When I was growing up, most of my friends had dogs or cats as family pets. My siblings and I had allergies, so our pet choices were limited to goldfish or turtles. I must admit, I always loved the little multi-colored stones and fake palm trees in my turtle’s plastic “house”. Unfortunately, the turtle “house” smelled pretty bad, despite numerous cleanings,

My pet goldfish had been won at an annual fair that my parents took us to each fall. One of the main attractions at this fair in Bloomsburg, PA was a contest where we tossed a little plastic colored ball hoping it would land in one of the lined up glass fishbowls. If we were successful, we went home with a goldfish in a baggie, sealed with a twisty.

Once home, my new pet unfortunately had about a 2-day shelf life. It wouldn’t be long before I heard that familiar flush, signaling that my pet fish had met an early demise. Remember the fish food TetraMin, whose flakes used to float on top of the water when you over-fed your fish? Our fish never lived long enough to finish one canister of TetraMin.

Childhood living is easy to do…

As the years rolled on and I noticed that I had outgrown most of my childhood allergies, there was one animal with whom I had a special affinity – a horse! It was a pretty big leap considering my former pets were turtles and goldfish.

I know what you’re thinking; I was influenced by Mr. Ed the talking horse, who made his TV debut in the late 50s. Wrong! I just seemed to gravitate toward horses because I could relate to what they symbolized – freedom without restraint. And some have even told me that I “eat like a horse”!

When it came to matters of the heart, I always identified with the lyrics from “Chestnut Mare” by the Byrds. Do you know that song? The Chestnut Mare represents a woman who wants to run free and not be ‘captured’.  

While I wasn’t lucky enough to have a pet horse, I did often plan vacations where I could indulge my love of horses through horseback riding. I wasn’t super athletic growing up, but riding horses came naturally to me.  I remember on one particular vacation to the Southwest, I went horseback riding in the desert and I was in heaven. At the end of my vacation, the cowboy who took me riding each day thought I had been riding for years.

I had literally been to the desert on a horse with no name and I was loving it!

In the years that followed, horseback riding was always a priority on my vacation agendas. But one particular horseback-riding escapade really affected me and altered my way of thinking.

“The Equine Experience” – offered at Miraval Spa – provides a novel adventure for their guests. Through their interactions with horses, guests discover deep-rooted patterns and behaviors about themselves.  Being a horse lover, I couldn’t pass up this opportunity!

On that day, the guests participating in this activity were greeted by Wyatt Webb, who wrote a self-help book entitled “It’s Not About The Horse”. Wyatt described in full detail that each of us would be assigned to a horse and would be responsible for cleaning it. He also highlighted the potential dangers should we not clean our horse properly.

Equine Experience at Miraval

Equine Experience at Miraval

Armed with my arsenal of cleaning tools, I tentatively walked over to my horse. As I stood next to her, all I could think about were the dangers and couldn’t remember the first step to cleaning her! Minutes later, Wyatt walked over to me, and observing my stance said, “You’re the kind of person who doesn’t like to ask for help”

Bingo!

I was so embarrassed that day when I couldn’t remember the first step to cleaning my horse.  I realized this was an issue I had struggled with for years  – not wanting to appear helpless or to admit not understanding something, both of which might be attributed to my short attention span!

Can anyone relate to that?

As I proceeded with cleaning the mud from my horse’s hooves with a sharp tool, I made sure not to dig in too deeply for fear of hurting my horse. Again, Wyatt made his way over to me. (I did secretly wonder if he was analyzing anyone else that day or just me?!) He explained that had I ridden that horse with the hooves being uneven, I would be putting myself in harm’s way and might have even been injured.

Epiphany #2 – I don’t put myself first enough for fear of hurting the other person.

What great revelations I had about horses and myself on that vacation. Horses seem to have an uncanny ability to relate to humans, which may explain why they are now being used in treatment programs for children with physical and emotional disabilities. In many documented cases, the children benefited both psychologically and physically and also formed a strong bond with the horses.

When you were growing up, did you have a favorite animal? Or were you like me, resigned to goldfish and turtles, only to develop an affection for larger animals later in life? As always, we love hearing your stories so please share them with us.

What are you waiting for? Giddy up!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jill Matlow
Jill Matlow spent much of her career working in many different facets of the healthcare industry writing marketing proposals, creative briefs and tactical plans. She is thrilled to now be writing articles geared to baby boomers who are nostalgic about their past but still hopeful about their futures. While music is her first passion, writing comes in a close second.