From the upcoming movie BUCK (about Buck Buchanan)
"All your horses are a mirror to your soul; and sometimes, you might not like what you see in the mirror. You can't hold it against him for how his life has been. Maybe there are some things for you to learn about you; and, maybe the horse is going to be the only damn way you're gonna learn it."
It's frightening how true this is for me in my journey with horses. I remember a moment, a dark one on my horse journey, where I wondered if I would be like a blogger I'd read. A woman blogger (who is no longer blogging, and hasn't for a few years) had clearly decided not to ride any more. She never said it, but her posts went from confronting her fears to brushing and grooming - and never, ever riding.
I saw myself there, not sure if I was going to make it across the chasm where fear silently grabbed at my throat. I could see the other side of the chasm, but there was no bridge to get there. I could see the other side, a place where people were riding with a certain level of confidence, not of ignorance (I'm young and immortal!) not years of experience (Off to Rolex!), but who somehow made it. They had once been on this side where I stood and yet managed to leap across.
It was terribly wide and the bottom so distant, I couldn't bear to think of the fall. Again and again I rode up to the chasm, on two different horses. Again and again I backed away, burying my face in my hands. I simply could not jump.
The horses I was with told me this. That until I could jump, leap into the air, I simply could not provide what they needed.
I had to face something I never wanted to speak out loud. Leadership isn't getting a horse to do inside turns in a round pen. It isn't having them stop behind you when you stop walking. It isn't having them lift their hooves as requested.
Those are actions. They can grow out of leadership, be learned through leadership, but they can also be tricks.
Leadership is locked inside us. It's not an action. It's not a stance. It's not rote behavior. It's some strange combination of energy, attitude, and soul that is only unmistakable when you finally feel it.
But no one really wants to tell you that it's not all these physical things, these things you can fake, especially when you are on the fear side of the chasm. Because then you'll know how impossibly big the leap is. Because it has to be REAL.
And on that cliff you know exactly how far from REAL you are. The danger is that you'll realize this, shudder, unhook your lead rope and walk away. Forever.
For so many reasons, we want everyone to jump, to land safely on the other side.
Getting through my fear, leaping my chasm and becoming this person, what I think of as a more fully realized version of myself, has been one of the most important things I've accomplished in my life. Everything else spills out from this, and I face every challenge before me slightly differently because of this place I am with my horses.
But you know what's funny? I don't even know why I jumped. Why I didn't just groom and brush my lovely horses, and be satisfied with that.
But I do know I am on the other side.