What’s your north star?

Why North Star Horse?

I grew up with a love and fascination of horses and riding. I couldn’t even tell you why exactly.
But it was a love that saw me through whatever frustrations came up. Even when I felt too weak and small to be good at it, I kept going, kept practicing, until I slowly got better. The joy I felt outweighed the frustrating times (not that I didn’t think of quitting occasionally, I had enough people in my life to remind me to stick it out, and I’m grateful I listened). The work and pain didn’t stand the light of how much freedom and joy I felt in the connection with horses and my horse.

Me and Frosty (foreground) circa 1984, Kelly and some cool gelding (background)

Though as I got older, and took on more responsibility I let what I thought I HAD to do, what I felt OBLIGATED to do take over and squash the joy. It took until my late teens, when I finally had everything I thought I wanted, for thing to totally turn to crap. It was all based on choices I made and limitations I had, that of course I couldn’t see as limitations at the time.

Me and my boy, George. One of our first rides, 1991.

I couldn’t say No to things, if I could see a possibility of working and “making something work”, I’d say yes. Even if it meant sacrificing my social life (sorry dear friends). And as I got older this meant sacrificing that light. I rode less and less…. And then riding became less and less effective, more hazardous more fraught with anxiety and the absolute opposite of what riding is supposed to be. Every ride was a fight.

It’s a truly awful thing to have an experience that you love turn to something full of dread and hate.

I stopped competing.

I sought a break and help with training. I would make some headway and then slide back. I kept getting stuck, kept getting in my own way until I was just worn down.

I would have sold my horse at that point if I thought anyone other than a meatpacking company would take him. Time and time again, trainers told me he was crazy.

I had a trainer tell me that my horse reminded him of a wonderful athletic horse he had growing up, “Great athletic ability, he was an awesome horse,” he told me. “Until one day, out in the field he got struck by lightening. He survived, but was never the same. His nerves were shot, and he was just crazy. Your horse reminds me of him.”

So I gave it up. I decided to leave it entirely. I left the state, moved away for college and only engaged in a small part time way on breaks.

I had made a promise to my horse that I would always make sure he was safe, and had a home. My parents helped me keep that promise, and then later my husband. They’ve always been fully supportive. But I didn’t re-engage aside from some brief and lovely times over the years. I found it hard to find any kind of balance.

Time and time again I found myself absorbed in what I SHOULD be doing, what I MUST DO to make ends meet to make things work.

That’s a good attribute… right?

It got me through some tough times. It got things moving… but at some point it became less and less effective. And I became more and more sad.

It’s taken me a long time to get here, and I have so many people that helped me along the way, wether they know it or not.
But I’ve come to the decision that that feeling of freedom and joy and connection, means something. At the end of the day all we have is our experiences and how we show up in the world. How we move through the world.

Once I decided that, my horse shows up in a calm and gentle manner. Horses are a mirror of us, of how we show up. Our thoughts, feelings are reflected there. I’m still unpacking all that my horse has taught me and is teaching me. Underneath it all what I’ve learned has been there guiding me all along, and now I’m listening. He’s my north star. My guiding light.

What’s yours? What’s your north star?


Leave a Reply Text

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *