I took Moon up for a mellow ride on Rabbit Mountain last week. Once up the hill we meandered through the meadows sprinkled with late summer flowers and cactus. His savvy hooves moved along the rocky field with grace. His quick glance to the left helped me spot the coyote that sat very still and quiet on a rock not too far away. The coyote watched us intently, never moving, even some time later when we looped back around and crossed along his way again.
Every horse offers something different. There is something about moving with a horse, in silence, feeling the sun and the wind, and hearing all of the sounds of the seasons that truly takes me to another place. The days when all of me is present and I am taking in all of life through all of my senses, these are the days that I call “spiritual.”
Moon is my first horse and riding him that day brought me the deep peace I usually feel with him. However, that day, I was also surprised to feel deep sadness. Moon and I have been together now for some time. I remembered a time when it was just he and I. I laughed at how much he would challenge me at the start…knowing that I really had no idea what I was doing. The first day he put his hind legs deep in a ditch and stood a good long time while I struggled to figure out how to get out. Once we got our relationship going, there were those night rides through moonlit snow fields. The warmth of his body moving through the seat of my pants as our bodies melded together and the sound of the snow dividing like water at his chest. There were the times we would ride out alone through the canopy of yellow aspens and pines, breathing deeply and connecting to all of nature. On those days I would come home and fall fast into a deep restful nap, his presence decompressing my stressed out being.
Then I chose to get Corazon. Moon just looked at me and said, “really?” He was not happy to have competition for attention and he and Cor were complete opposites in personality. However, my Moon stood tall and worked his ranching moves as we ponied Corazon over bridges, water, along the trails and through the fields. I would sit proud on Moon and have Corazon circling around us and doing little tricks. Moon came to terms with Cor. Then last year I got Diva. I will never forget watching him run her down and proceed to attack her. He was mad as could be. I couldn’t blame him. He knew that she was my next riding partner. It wasn’t until I explained to him that this was his opportunity to have a girlfriend that his attitude changed. Four days later he was by her side 24/7. Now when I take her off the ranch, he will cry until we return.
Then there are the EFLC sessions. There are way too many for me to remember all of them, but several will always stay vivid in my mind. The thing about Moon is that he has given me, and many others, so very much of his very big heart. He somehow transitioned from being a working ranch horse on 150,000 acres to working with people in the EFLC work. He has not been the easiest horse for many—he speaks and shows the truth and many are not fully ready for it. He has truly demonstrated to me the mastery of how to live one’s life and how to go through life transitions while still being true to one’s self.
Moon has become the master at working with people on an energetic level, helping to open their hearts to their joys, sorrows, wishes and desires. He pushes them along like they are the cows in the pastures—the placement of his nose on their body always intentional—always where the energy and emotion is locked up. Direct and compassionate, he knows he is the elder and he knows his job now.
As I rode that day I wondered if my sadness was also part of him speaking through me. Today, as I write this, I realize that it was not. This is all mine. The layers of emotion and sadness are my path of letting go, of knowing that he will never pony Corazon again, that our days of going up hills have come to an end, last week was our last, and that what was once is no longer. And as my own tears flow in this moment as I write, I embrace them, knowing they are helping me to let go when I need to let go.
Moon and I will still have many years together. As all relationships, what we do with our years will continue to change. What I do know to be true is that Moon is the horse that has brought me to “who” I am now. His soul runs deep like the ocean and I am honored to receive his presence in my life. He has stood by my side and held a space for so much change and growth. In my heart of hearts I truly hope I have done him right.
Today Moon teaches me that things will always change, there is no constant. He reminds me to ask:
- Am I ready in my life to let go of what was and invite in what might want to be?
- Am I willing to open my heart after it has been broken?
- Can I trust again after I have been betrayed and disappointed?
- Can I find my place in this world no matter what circumstances are presented?
- Am I willing to risk being wrong in order to grow and expand?
- Am I willing to let go of who I have been in order to become more of who I truly am?
As I write this I sense it may come across as deep and heavy. It probably sounds like a eulogy. It is not. Moon is here on the ranch. Every day he touches a deep part of my spirit and soul. Writing my thoughts makes my heart swell with appreciation. It is the continual exploration and acceptance of the changes in our relationship over time that stretches and opens my heart. And later today, when I walk out to hang with the herd, it will be Moon waiting to meet me at the gate.
I hope that you too have had an amazing horse in your life. I was blessed with Moon. He will always be my “first love.” If you have not had your first horse, your first love, . . . well . . . what are you waiting for?