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Happy, Healthy, & Horsey: Honoring the Horse

Grieving with grace for those still here.

Last week in this column, I shared some raw emotion with y’all about some long pent-up grief.

Between then and now, something incredible, and incredibly healing, happened. Along with releasing the negative emos, I got a wake-up call from someone who does not even realize it. A fellow horsewoman unexpectedly lost her favorite riding partner last week. She posted about it on social media so folks who care about her would know, and we all provided what support we could through her initial shock and trauma.

A few days later, this incredible horsewoman posted a photo of her childhood pony, who is still very much alive, with a caption to the effect, “So grateful I have this guy!”

And friends, I felt like I had had a ginormous bucket of ice water dumped all over me. After seeing that photo, with that caption, while knowing my friend was just a few days out from burying her beloved riding partner, I shut down my computer and walked outside to the barn, and stood and stared at Kaliwohi. And stared. And stared.

Yes, I miss Sam. And yes, I’m glad I was finally able to dig down deep and shed those deeply buried tears at last.

But, as the saying goes, one can’t move forward if you’re looking backward. And, while I will always cherish Sam and all he taught me and all he gave me, if I stay down in the doldrums of missing him, I am dishonoring the mustang standing right in front of me and – worst of all – wasting time and precious life. Looking backward (figuratively speaking) is not even honoring Sam, and it’s doing me absolutely no good whatsoever.

Kaliwohi in the light of a new day. Photo by Esther Roberts

The best way I can honor Sam is to use every ounce of horsemanship I learned while we were a team to make my partnership with Kaliwohi the best it can possibly be.

Realizing this – that I best honor Sam by working even more diligently with Kaliwohi – feels like a ginormous boulder rolled off my shoulders. I am finding my focus again, in my work, my weight-loss journey, my fitness journey, and so many other aspects of my life.

Here are some practical changes I have noticed over the past month (yes, the tears came only last week, but the burden has been sitting there for much longer…):

  • I am happily (and faithfully) recording every morsel I consume on the Lose It! app. Instead of feeling like a chore, this feels like I am finally in control of food, instead of the other way around. #EpicWin
  • I am more productive at work, and have a much better attitude about all the time I invest doing my job.
  • I am learning to play, to be more social, and to be completely comfortable being my authentic self.  #WeAreAllUniqueSoCelebrateYou
  • I am trusting God more while shutting down the inner voice that has repeated ad nauseum for years, “You have to handle everything by yourself!”

I honor my horse – my present horse, as well as the memory of my past horse – by taking care of myself, getting in shape, losing the flab, and not allowing myself to wallow in negative emos.

I honor my horse by striving to be a better equestrian today than I was yesterday.

I honor my horse by allowing him to be who he is, without comparing him to past horses or judging him by an impossible standard.

I honor my horse by focusing on the good in him and helping him be even better, day by day.

Same goes for me, too.

And for you, as well.

#GrowBOLDnotOld

Go Riding.

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