From the moment Alki Run, an ex-racehorse rescued by After The Homestretch AZ, first arrived I knew I was in the presence of a teacher; a teacher with his own healing and lessons to learn as well. He was a rather stoic sort; pleasant enough, yet able to keep the world at a safe distance. When you looked into his beautiful brown eyes they seemed empty, skeptical, and detached. You couldn’t touch him from the neck back without him taking a bite or kick at you. Regardless, there was still something special about this horse and I knew we’d come together for a reason.
The fear, doubt and detachment that Alki walked off the trailer with almost a year ago are being replaced a little more each day with strength, confidence, and connection. He’s become more confident and comfortable in his interactions within our herd and people too. There’s often a sparkle of joy and contentment in his eyes that is beautiful to see. He’s learning to reconnect with himself and the world around him. He’s starting to trust and interact with others, and learn what it feels like to be happy and comfortable.
Alki was a loner, keeping a safe distance from the other herd members. Now it’s common to see him comfortably eating and hanging out with any herd member, even with Butler, the alpha horse in the herd. A few days ago I even caught Alki and Butler playing together, which says a lot on how far he’s come!
It hasn’t been easy. It’s taken months of work, lots of steps forward, a few backwards, and the courage to break through barriers of fear and mistrust in the process. Could I or anyone else have made these changes for Alki? Most definitely NOT! He had to decide to be an active part of his healing; stepping into his own strength and confidence. He had to be the one to embrace it and own it.
Today when I look into his eyes I’m often met with a soft eye filled with caring, connection, and gentle knowing. He has his favorite itchy spots that he loves to have rubbed, and he’ll often follow me around like a great big puppy; curious about where I’m going or what I’m doing, and he’s comfortable just hanging out together.
He and I were quietly hanging out the other day. It was a peaceful moment at sunset. We stood close together almost breathing in sync; sharing the experience without saying words. I was reflecting on how far he’d come when I felt a powerful message in my heart . . . “Whether horse or human, the strength and confidence that will sustain and guide you can only come from within. Others may help you embrace it; you must be willing to own it!”
It made perfect sense. We can be surrounded by many who will guide us to find our inner strength and confidence. Yet unless we are willing to own it, it can never truly be. So the question is – Are you ready and willing to own it?