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How My Horse Made Me Cry...

I just cried when I got off my horse today.  We rode right through the middle of a busy fence construction project, while compressors roared on and off, trucks banged and clattered, and nail guns hammered.  Our trust of each other was deep and magnificent.  And just a year or two ago I was deeply afraid of riding her under any circumstances. 

My tears were of joy and gratitude and love, from deep within my soul.  They represent the most perfect healing of my inner child, through her most deeply held dream and desire.  The dream of owning her very own, very special, horse.

Her name is Sedona, and yes, I actually live in Sedona, Az.  She is a gaited Medicine Hat Paint mare, though with no papers to let us know her age or her bloodlines. That means nothing to me, however; what truly matters is the wealth of love and healing that we have shared over the few years that we have been together.

As a celebration of my living 50 years on the planet, I decided to get a horse again four years ago.  It had been 10 years or so since I let my horses go, back when I still lived in MD.  A tough decision, but one that fit my post-divorce life at that time.  Moving to a horse property in Sedona in 2004 opened me to consider having one again, but at first the appeal of it was outweighed by the work and the investment, as well as the environment of Arizona. The barn here leaked and was falling down, and the fences were bent and tired.  The dirt paddocks were so harsh and unnatural to me, after the lush grassy fields of Maryland. 

Yet I couldn’t shake the intuitive knowing that having a horse was the right thing for me again. So I went looking, tentatively, on the Internet, which is the new way to find your dream horse. First I had to ask myself, at this point in my life, what is my dream horse now?

My kids used to have paint ponies; one was a full blooded Chincoteague pony mare. She was spirited, sassy and very honest and safe. Growing up with Marguerite Henry’s Misty books, paints definitely held an appeal for me.  I always had Quarter Horses for myself, getting my first horse at the age of 29 after wanting one my whole life. 

My parents, who are long since departed, implied that I was horse crazy almost from birth.  We had two round, gold-colored metal etchings of horses that hung on either side of our row house’s living and dining room doorway, and apparently I talked to them even before I felt inclined to speak to members of my own species.  I remember staring at the ponies on the back cover of all the little golden books of my childhood.  It was just in my blood, this longing to be connected to a horse. 

When I imagined the horse of my dreams, as my milestone birthday approached, I saw a paint.  And after half a century in this body, a smooth moving gaited horse seemed smart too, no bouncing necessary for these knees and this bottom anymore.

 When I searched “gaited” and “paint” within Arizona, just one horse for sale came up, and her name was Sedona!  It was a “done deal”, so to speak, even though she technically didn’t pass her vet check on her left front leg, and she displayed very nervous behavior when separated from her herd mates when I went to see her down in Phoenix.  She was the horse of my little girl’s dreams, I just knew it. In my heart, and in my gut, I knew it.

My two girls and I all used to show locally after they got their first small paint pony when they were young, and they did 4H for a few years.  I was a very confident rider, if only on my own horses that I knew and trusted.  Never really was very athletic, but felt good in my saddle and frequently won trail classes at shows.  It was just fun to do difficult obstacles in patterns that you were given the day of the show.  And practical, too, as it made the horses safer on the trail at home.  Open and close gates and mailboxes while mounted, rub plastic raincoats all over the horse as you sat on them, side pass ‘U’ shaped rails on the ground, back around barrels in a figure 8 pattern, walk over bridges, it all felt natural to me.

My highest honor in the show ring came in a command class.  A dozen of us vied for the blue ribbon that day, and the others were eliminated one by one as new, and more difficult commands were given for us to execute.  My young grey mare Poco was flawless, and soon only two of us were left in the ring on our horses.  The other horse was “on” too, and the judge kept testing us over and over again.  Pick up the canter from a stop, turn on the haunches and trot, back up three steps and canter, we just kept performing perfectly.  A crowd had formed watching us.

I actually was having fun with it, and my horse amazed me.  I had gotten her as a two year old, and we had grown and learned together.  She went on to carry one of my daughters safely for years.  The judge finally asked us to pick up the wrong canter lead, and though we hadn’t practiced it before, my little mare did it.  The class was ours! We won the blue ribbon in command and trail class as well that day, and the show Grand Championship.

It all seemed like another life when I started riding Sedona the Medicine Hat Paint here in Sedona, because I began experiencing deep, unexplained fear and even panic while on her.  One windy day while receiving a riding lesson, fear arose in me suddenly and I almost fainted.  Yet my trusty and forgiving horse did not get upset or react to my emotions.  She held me up and allowed me to go deeper.  It was an amazing gift as she is very sensitive, as am I, yet she did not react to the shallow breathing or fear that I felt.

She sometimes has had instances of fear arise in her, often if she reinjured an area of her body with a scar on it.  It was almost as if it brought back her memory of the pain and the trauma.  This almost always has happened at the exact time that I was receiving a healing myself.  Our processes are organic, and deeply connected.  We are always there for each other; we have never both gotten really upset at the same time!  I believe we have an agreement to assist each other in going deeper with our healing.

Once after I took a weekend workshop and felt huge things release and shift in me, Sedona didn’t want to be touched when I got back home.  She had an abrasion up on her neck that looked fresh.  I assembled my healer friends who are into horses, and we asked her to show us what was going on with her.  She showed two of us, simultaneously, being halter ‘broke’ as a foal, having just been separated from her mother when she was really small and young. She got caught up in the ropes that were tightly tied to her halter and a pole, and no one came to help her for a very long time.  This resulted in an injury to her poll, the area behind her ears, and she does have a scar there, as well as one lower on her neck that coincided with her more recent injury.  She felt abandoned (a life issue for me, too), helpless, and harmed by her human ‘captors’, while tied up screaming for her mother.  We did energy healing on her, which she received well.  And within a couple of days, she was not only inviting touch, she was absolutely not reactive on all of the formally sensitive areas of her neck and poll. This was a first for her.

After I had another deep personal healing, she had an extremely tender area on her back erupt with a small lesion present.  With the assistance of my holistic vet and friends, she went really deep again and trembled all over with the energy and touch therapy that we gave her.  She literally released years of stuff, just when I did, again.

Another time I felt brave and dropped my stirrups and rode Sedona up the long end of the arena while I B-R-E-A-T-H-E-D…  She was fine as I allowed any errant fears to arise in me to be released.  Then we went back down the rail and did it again, this time with no reins.  I felt my body let go, and received deep healing energy.  We walked down the rail again, and I decided to come back up with no reins or stirrups.  After I took my feet out of the stirrups, dropped the reins around her neck and asked her to walk, she shook her head and stomped her hooves!  I realized I had been in my own little world, and had not consciously invited Sedona into my healing process with me.  She was asking to connect with me, and receive the healing herself.

I repositioned us back on the rail, relaxed and breathed with my horse, and my only cue for her to move was closing my eyes and visualizing us going forward.  We walked up the side of the arena as one, without the aid of stirrups or reins.  Time stood still for us.  Fear did not exist in the vibration of trust that we created with each other.  I felt every move of her body, and perceived how deeply she felt me upon her.  She stopped on my exhale.  It is hard to express how I felt that day, how she felt, and how much old stuff we released.  I believe that we went far beyond even our own healing process, as a team; that we entered into an agreement that allowed the healing energy to expand well beyond what we did personally that day.  I floated the rest of the day in an altered state.  She munched contentedly on her hay, at peace with the world.

A few weeks later, I was riding Sedona in the Medicine Wheel here on the property.  It was constructed with the help of a Siberian Shaman.  I lost my breath for no apparent reason, and stopped her to regain my balance and composure.  I felt my heart pound, then relax and expand, as I looked up at Thunder Mountain.   This is a technique that always brings me back to my present moment and reconnects me to my horse.  I felt a powerful energy travel from my heart down into my horse, and she received it with a huge sigh.  She let out a big yawn and I just sat on her for some time until I felt she was finished receiving the healing energy.

A month or so passed before we rode in the wheel again, and when we did, I was not thinking about our last experience there.  When we reached the exact spot where the healing first occurred, Sedona planted her hooves and refused to move forward.  She is a docile horse who rarely says no to me, so I did wonder what she was saying to me.  Then I got the insight that she was asking me to bring up that energy again, that energy that we had created together the last time I sat on her in that very spot!  I breathed and opened my heart in gratitude as I looked at the awe-inspiring mountain.  I felt the energy run down my body, and enter my horse. It moved down her legs and anchored into the Earth.  It was a priceless moment, which we fully and consciously created together.

She instantly walked back down the hill as soon as I asked again, without hesitation. But not before we had completed our magical moment of healing and connection together.

Sedona is a Medicine Hat Paint, the most revered color to many Native Tribal People.  I did not know this when I found her.  She fully lives up to the legend of being a great healing animal.  She has been a wonderful mirror and teacher for me.   She has encouraged me to connect to my heart, and the earth, in a most sacred way.  And she is willing to literally stand as a bridge between me and the Earth Mother. 

I love her, and thank her every day.  Our relationship continues to grow and stretch us both.  Her trust in me, and mine in her, is now implicit and natural.  We know we can do anything together.  We know we can rely on each other to fully show up every day.  By releasing expectations of each other, we create a bond that is completely open, free and in the present moment.  We appreciate the special connection that we have, that has allowed us to achieve new levels of healing.  Our mind, body and spirits sing as we ride together, pony tails swinging, through this great adventure that we call life.

Sedona recently allowed 7 different people to ride her in a long session, and 6 of them were children. The whole family had come to meet her, and her strong steady spirit invited them to ride her. The week before, she helped two women release tremendous fear, staying calm and safe for them. It is a great honor to share her healing spirit with others.  I believe it is her calling; the fulfillment of her mission as a true Medicine Hat Paint. I feel it is part of my mission, too, to assist others through the dream of my Inner Child, through Spirit Horse Experience Sessions.

Read more about my Healing Practice and Around the World Journey at journeyinspirit.com

Adele sedona



Adele Sands

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