This picture captured the moment of the first time Pippy, one of the herd at the Wild Horse Sanctuary in northern CA, let me reach out and touch her.
This was after three days of working with her for hours, gaining her trust by showing up consistently and communicating to her with my body language that I wanted good for her, not harm. Horses are prey animals, so their survival instincts teach them to self-protect instead of connect. Safety is their #1 concern.
Because of this, until safety was communicated and understood between Pippy and I, she was going to stay as far away from me in that round pen as she could. Some horses are more dominant, assertive types and will try to maintain control as a means of safety. Pippy was very gentle-natured and was more inclined to avoid and escape for safety, rather than control.
From the get-go, my intention was to build a relationship with Pippy. I wanted to connect with her. Horses are social beings and are capable of connection in the same way humans are. But like any healthy relationship, this one was built on choice and not force. So even though I wanted to reach out and touch her on Day 1, we waited until Day 3, when she was ready, when she said “Yes” to that request.
This time together was so sweet, so sacred. She let me stand there for five minutes, rhythmically petting her face, easing into the enjoyment of being cared for and shown affection by another being. Connection, trust, and respect were all wrapped up in this moment. When I look at this picture, it brings back those feelings for me. It reminds me about my true self, gentle and kind, caring and affectionate, capable of connection and love.
I have found that to be a pattern in my work with horses, the invitation I receive from them is always to come home to the real me. The essence of me that requires no effort or striving. Then, and only then, will they extend a willingness and desire to connect. It’s never an invitation to be the perfect version of myself with no faults or negativity, simply an alignment of self that communicates, “I’m safe, I’m not hiding anything from you, all of me is here in this moment”.
These are sacred moments of connection. Where the truest part of me connects with the truest part of another. These moments add such depth and meaning to life, and opens pathways to change and transformation. The more we get in touch with our essential self, the more we want to tend and cultivate it so it is the part of us that is able to shine the most brightly in our lives. It’s the part of us that requires the least amount of effort and makes us feel most fully alive.
I’m committed to giving people opportunities to experience this. It’s too good not to share. This work is rich, deeply relational, authentic, and connecting. It has the potential to bring self-awareness and transformation.
Until then, may you find moments of sacred connection in your daily life.
Rooting for you!