So I had decided to brush up on my horsemanship skills to be prepared to work with Raven. I realized that she was going to be a challenge, but I also knew she would teach me a lot. I saw great potential in her – if I committed to working with her and not giving up when it doesn’t come easily (as I’ve always done in the past), I thought it could be a really rewarding partnership. She was smart and had an alert, sensitive spirit; I felt she was responsive enough to move to higher levels of communication, but I needed to retrain myself in the necessary skills to teach her, and to be consistent enough to see where it took us.
After coming home from visiting Raven, I wrote in my journal:
I’m always afraid to make goals because I’m scared of being disappointed, but here goes:
- I want Raven and myself to have a close enough bond, and strong enough partnership, to ride at liberty – no bridle.
- I want us to be brave trail partners – and eventually do long-distance rides.
For now, before I can even ride her, I need her to be fully recovered from her strangles; healthy enough and cleared to be boarded at a stable; have her vaccines done and her feet trimmed; and to train again with the basics in groundwork and trust so that we have a strong foundation.
This will be a challenge.
It will be good for me.
Raven was already manifesting positive change in my life – for years, I lived this passive existence where I refused to put effort into goals or even make a conscious goal for the future. I had learned that when I did that, or even felt hope or joy, that the rug would be pulled out from under me and that I had no control over my life. I felt that shit would just happen to me and I would have to let it. I learned to protect myself by just withdrawing from life and living as close to emotionally neutral as I could, not making waves. It felt like trying to be invisible, because any time I felt something good, the universe was going to stamp it out for me. I spent over a decade shutting down my emotions; I was so sensitive and introverted and insecure, and it was painful to feel emotions. So I taught myself to be numb, and alcohol played a big part in that. But “protecting” myself from my negative emotions also cut off the positive ones, and I was so afraid of feeling a good emotion that I stopped allowing those to come through either. I had built this dark hole to hide in, and the darkness was eating me alive from the inside out.
So when I say that I actually set a goal in my life, and acknowledged that it would be a challenge to how I’d built myself to be, it was a huge step. It would be hard to live up to, but I loved that little mare so much, it made me want to try. For the first time in a long time, I saw that the universe had brought her to me to bring me back to the living, and this time, I would allow myself to try.