Last week I started the story of how a handsome young gelding came into my life. This week I’d like to formally introduce him! In his previous home he was known as Lucky, however I felt drawn to giving him a new name to mark the start of this new chapter of his life. I believe that names can carry a significant energy and I wanted to find one that would represent the relationship I hope to develop with this amazing being, and so I chose ‘Dakota’, which means friend or ally, as I hope that we will establish a close connection and partnership through our time together.
Dakota (Dax) and I on the evening of the day he arrived in his new home
This beautiful boy had rather a hard start in life – he was separated from his mother at 1 month of age and left to starve. He was then rescued, and after a while ended up in the care of his lovely owner. She spent a considerable amount of time, care, attention and money in getting him healthy again and now, at 6 years of age, you would never imagine that he had had such a history.
In his previous home he was living barefoot, non-ridden and with 24/7/365 turnout, on a diet of ad lib hay and a few wonderful Thunderbrook supplements. Unfortunately I have been unable to find facilities in this area that quite match this, so we’ve had to make some compromises. This has triggered me in ways that I was not expecting!
I feel such a huge sense of responsibility for this animal who is now solely in my care. I might know the theory of looking after a horse, and have practised it in various ways in the past, but it has never been all on my shoulders before. With other people’s horses, I wasn’t the one who had the final say on decisions such as:
- when and how to introduce him to the other horses on the yard;
- or when might the grass be safe enough for him to go out on it,
- and for how long.
(When he arrived he was in the ‘winter field’ with ad lib hay and very little grass, but that was not going to be a permanent arrangement.)
We also, obviously, need to fit in with the others on the yard, as I’m not on my own land…
I know that all this takes time, and is a matter of trying things, then tweaking them as necessary. The others on the yard are there to discuss any concerns I might have, which can be helpful, but sometimes it is actually more confusing – and stressful – when everyone’s opinion is different. It has pushed old buttons within me and raised some uncomfortable feelings for me to explore – about my abilities and also my sense of worth and the value of my opinion and views. I know that these feelings relate to old fears and conditioning that no longer serve me, so this is a great opportunity to look into what my discomfort is showing me:
- where do I have old needs that have not been met?
- how can I best learn the lesson that they have for me in order to let them go?
Previously, my coping strategy was often to push down my feelings, however I’ve learnt that this actually makes things worse in the long run. In fact it has made me ill in the past, leading to migraines, eczema, digestive issues and anxiety.
Over the last few years, on my journey of learning more about myself and how I can support my own wellbeing, I’ve learnt some very valuable techniques that generally work well for me. This can be a very individual thing, as each of us is unique, with our own challenges and personalities, but next week I’ll share some of what has helped me, in the hope that it might be useful for you too.