We all have days where self doubt gets the better of us. Comparing, questioning, and being incredibly tough on ourselves about how we look, what you’re thinking, how we’re perceived – the seed of doubt although little, is a hugely powerful one, with the strength to deplete us of our sense of self and even our sense of reality.
Horses and ponies do not compare themselves to each other in the way in which we humble humans do. However, they do doubt themselves and their ability to handle certain situations. Their sensitivity and fragility when facing a feared scenario requires us to step up to the task of being a kind and courageous leader, which they can draw safety and strength from. They need us to adopt the role of protector.
Amazingly, as we fiercely pretend for their sake that we are indeed brave, all self doubt in us drains steadily away, and with the loving partnership of our equine comrades beside us, we can actually begin to believe in who we are, without the need for the heavy weight of self judgement on our shoulders.
A pony standing beside a race horse has equal strength and a selection of special qualities. They compliment each other with their unique abilities. A race horse can take his jockey to the moon and back as they gallop as one for the finish line. A pony offers a child friendship, fun and adventure as they sit excitedly upon their backs, ready to take on the world.
Riding a horse truly does dissolve any doubt that may engulf us. It has to. Horses need us to guide them safely and compassionately when mounted – how else can they comprehend our communication with them? Everything we do must be calm, controlled and in the spirit of empathy and love. There is no time for second guessing. Kindness is all they ask for, and a courageous leader.
In accepting our role as leader with horses, it subtly encourages a quiet confidence within and a gentle strength, which we can bring out to shine in everyday life. As we guide them through their fears, we are abandoning our own.
As I rode my littlest pony at full speed around the meadow this week – in that moment, all that mattered was our adventure and bond together. Moments like this show me true mindful escapism, and pure, honest, freedom. Such healthy feelings which encourage positive emotional well being.
Yet outside of horses, that courage so easily can slip away to a place I struggle to retrieve it back from. The inner questioning returns. The self doubt. The insecurities rise. Funnily enough, I don’t believe I am alone with this. So many seem to find comfort in knowing that beside or on a horse, they are home. Their role as ‘Herd leader’ or simply ‘Horse carer’ gives them peace and meaning and self expression.
Some individuals will not walk without a dog beside them. Others couldn’t imagine coming home without a beloved cat to greet them as they open the front door. How special it is that animals can so beautifully fill up the gaps in our hearts and solve the puzzles in our minds.
It seems to me, our relationships with our animals close any open doors to self-doubt. They lift the heavy weight of negativity from our shoulders, leaving love and courage and most importantly, freedom to be ourselves without fear.
I think that takes real horse power …