By Ivorie Nicole
Yes, that is me in the picture above, I know it looks like my son, Hunter but that picture was taken back in the 90’s in a small town in Wisconsin. I can still remember the excitement of the unknown, the rush of adrenaline flowing through my tiny veins. I felt so special that I had the chance to sit in such a large majestic creature it made me glow from the inside.
I think this is where my courage to explore beyond my limitations began. I mean, so many things have come into play to be able to encourage deliberate and directed action based interests that encourages child to decide what they want to explore on a such a committed level. Kids are so technical and observant to their surroundings it’s a special thing to be able to observe a developing mind.
Naturally I have always wanted to explore, as most kids do, even though I felt hindered, or more limited as a child than others sitting on this horse made me want to explore beyond my limitations. So started, and I never stopped exploring and never will.
I was poor growing up, I didn’t have much. In fact, I had a very unhealthy & traumatic up bringing but there’s a few things that really pulled me through my grandparents and horses are one of them.
We couldn’t afford much as a child so owning a horse was out of the question. Which to me was motivation to set as my aspiration. Visualization really works. I dreamed every day for things and it doesn’t matter if it took me a year, 1 hour, or 10 years I always get what I visualize. So do not stop dreaming or visualizing.
About 8 years later my mother ended up working a part time job at a local horse ranch where my sister and I were able to ride for free and really see what it’s like to care for a horse. Now like I stated earlier, this is all happening in a small cold little American mid-western town where in winter we have blizzards, negative degree weather, in spring we have thunder and lightning storms and summer brings so many mosquitoes in it’s painful.
Managing horses in this type of climate really tests and shapes a true cowgirl. It’s hard work, it’s freezing, it’s intimidating and it’s very technical and so very challenging you have to be committed because this job is not for the weak.
I had chronic asthma and allergies as a child. I had inhalers everywhere; school, the car, my pocket, every family members house anywhere I was, there was always an inhaler. My asthma was so bad that I had a breathing machine at home and for a period of time I was on steroids to keep my lungs open from closing due to inflammation and obstruction to my airways.
My asthma made a lot of things difficult, horses, no, the sander from the barn nearly debilitated me. It was so bad I would have to wear masks like this and an air filter on it just to be able to breathe or stay in the barn during winter. The cold would trigger my asthma and the dirt, mold, and dander all the things trapped inside a closed and stalled up barn with horses kicking up dust could have killed me but I just told everyone I was fine.
As a little girl, I would always minimize my pain believing that I could overcome anything. I would look at my sister and ask myself “why can she breathe and I can’t”. To me breathing is an automatic process of life, as a child I thought there’s nothing wrong with my body, everyone has to breathe, my body can’t not want me to breathe so I would feel the onset of the asthma attack and follow my intuition to push them way. I became so vigilant on the triggers and discovering what made my breathing worse, what made my breathing better I learned that I could manipulate my own body chemistry naturally. Feeling my own body try to self regulate made me question my doctors and there beliefs but I’ll go into details of my own healthy journey in June when I blog about health.
As a kid there was nothing I despised more than being told I was incapable of doing something. Like who are you to tell me who I am and what I am capable of? You don’t know me, you don’t know my thoughts, as a child I felt so trapped with the inability of wanting to do more than I could communicate.
The first time I sat on a horse I was younger than 5 years old, the second time I sat on a horse was when I was 12 years old… it was my time to control the reins. I’ll never forget what my trainer told me when I was tacking up one cold winter afternoon. She looked at me and told my petite 12 year old self if you’re afraid, you’ll never be able to ride. He can sense you, if he knows you’re afraid, he won’t trust you to ride him or to guide him and if he doesn’t trust you, you will never be able to ride. No one was going to tell me what I couldn’t do, so I thought hard as I wheezed through my breathing mask. Do I want to even ride, is this right for me? Should I risk my own safety? Am I even strong enough for this? Is it even worth it to put myself into a position like this?
Yes, yes it was, it’s in blood.
I got on that horse every chance I got and when I had to ride a different horse I felt like I was betraying his trust. I wanted to perfect myself through him, through General. the largest and darkest thoroughbred the ranch had.
Horses have taught me so much about myself, so much about life.
I learned how to manage my fear and use it to be better. Riding taught me how to channel my fears, communicate my fears in silence while working on building trust and setting things up for the future.
I learned forgiveness through praying my horse will still accept me after I did something wrong while riding which taught me I can make a mistake and be forgiven.
I learned forgiveness through finding the patience and tolerance to forgive my horse when he makes a mistake.
Riding has taught me patience, trust and shown me what love is.
Children who’ve gone through adversity struggle with these issues (trust, love, forgiveness, loyalty, etc..) as a child and as an adult. These behaviors make up our character and need to be taught. Horses have been one of my healing angels guiding me through the journey of life.
It wasn’t until after my divorce where I became the owner of Jack, my very own, my first act of freedom, my first horse. Jack a beautiful dun that looks identical to Spirit, you know the movie Spirit. Same temperament, same personality. I finally began to believe in myself and began to physically validate everything no one ever validated for me. I have unlimited power, I’m full of potential, I’m happy and free because I am me, I trust my intuition, I’m willing to act and face my fears, I trust the journey and confidence is second nature to me.
Horses are a symbol of freedom, a pure spirit, power, an emblem of war but most of all a true representation of being able to serve while never being fully tamed.
The power of the horse is in my blood. It always has been, it always will be.
I encourage everyone reading this to accept who they are and never surrender themselves to someone who doesn’t even try to understand you, it’s not your fault they don’t understand themself.
Be free. Be wild. Be love.
And never forget that survivor becomes a warrior through self creation. Through trial and error, pain and suffering, and their ability to conquer their own fault.
This blog was very vulnerable for me to write. I hope you enjoyed it. Don’t be afraid to leave a comment.
The power of a horse, it is in my blood. It always has been, it always will be.