The special connection I have with animals began at a very early age. I think, in fact, I may have been born with a cat in my arms, because in every picture of me as a baby, I am always holding one. This apparent need to be close to animals has never worn off, because I will only get a great night’s sleep if I have two or three of those feline critters strewn about in bed with me.
My first two years of life were spent in a Los Angeles neighborhood where, back in the day, there were “pony picture peddlers” who went door to door, selling ridiculously cute photo opportunities to easily persuaded parents. Mine, of course, fit into this category, and purchased one of these sweet little saddle sittings complete with costuming! I am sure I was enthralled with meeting the pony – anything with four legs and fur delighted me – but, for some reason, I had developed a fear of cameras, and screamed my head off during the session. It is ironic that this is my first documented interaction with an equine.
I spent the next 10 years of my life on the beautiful island of Oahu, Hawaii. One of my favorite activities, besides swimming in the warm ocean convinced I was a fish, was leafing through the volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica. I distinctly remember the day I reached the “H” volume, and came across the pages dedicated to the horse. A most intense sensation arose in my body as I looked at the pictures and read the words. Accompanying this was a distinct feeling of recognition; a knowing. At seven years of age, I could not put these feelings and sensations into words, and I shared them with no one. Two years later, I acquired my first horse, “Shanti.”
I rode my Sting-Ray bicycle (yes…of course it had a super cool banana seat), to and from the stable twice daily to care for my horse, never missing a beat, and never (well, rarely) wearing shoes while doing so – that was the Hawaiian way, and I have elementary school class pictures to prove it! There was a small gang of us young ’uns who kept horses there, and we stole rides* on our horses daily, having no concept of horsemanship of any kind. However, with our supple, agile young bodies, we were able to hang onto our horses in almost any situation; and when our clinging powers gave out, they instantly converted to the supernatural ability of bouncing, and not breaking. If our parents had been witness to the incredibly risky things we did as we traversed the turf in Manoa Valley, our horseback riding privileges would have been revoked, and our horses immediately re-homed.
These early experiences were incredible, and entertaining, to say the least, but I wasn’t doing any favors for the horses that passed through my hands. This is not to say I abused them in any way. I was always kind, and took care of them extremely well, but they served a purpose for me. They were a fur coated means for playing with my other horsie pals: thrilling races at a full gallop with the wind tearing at our hair, while acting out episodes of “outlaw vs. posse;” packing double on good old Shanti (which always made him buck) and seeing just how long we could stay on….are you getting my drift? It was all about me and my experience. I did not even have a pimple-sized portion of my brain that could recognize that the horses were also having experiences, and they were surely dramatically different than mine.
It was much later in life, while wrangling Napa Valley tourists on scenic nose-to-tail trail rides (I owned and managed Napa Valley Trail Rides from 2003-2006), that I began to realize that horses responded to, and felt (or choose not to feel) things, in accordance with how we related to them. As I got to know each of the horses in my string, I saw that they would shield themselves, go numb, “dumb-down” if you will, in order to get themselves through the workday. Again, I was extremely kind to my animals, and took exceptional care of them. The horses had very light workloads, wore custom saddles, and were only mounted by carefully selected “Dudes” that I deemed to be as least offensive as possible. But, the horses were not actually in attendance, emotionally or spiritually. They were only there in body.
I did not like seeing what my brain was allowing me to see. Seems I now had a freckled-sized spot in my noggin’ that was opening up to this kind of recognition, so I began to fill it with bonafide horsemanship skills for the first time in my life. I started studying from the burgeoning stars of the natural horsemanship movement: Pat Parelli, Clinton Anderson, John Lyons, Mark Rashid and Harry Whitney, to name a few. As I practiced what I learned, and worked with each horse on an individual basis, I saw them relate to me in a totally different manner. They became much more present. I could “feel” them, because they were able to let down the shielding they had constructed to protect their sensitive and extraordinary equine personalities – their Inner Wild – the part of them that I was finally taking the time to gain knowledge of.
No longer wishing to have my horses perform duties that they had to basically be absent for, in mind and spirit, I discontinued my trail ride services at the end of 2006. I dedicated myself to learning more about the intricacies of the horse, and began sharing the knowledge I was acquiring by teaching and training. My desire was to help people connect with horses, and help horses connect with people in a way that enhanced the experience of both entities involved. I have been steadfast on this journey ever since.
So what of those “knowings,” those feelings I had when I was that tender young tomboy, leafing through the Encyclopedia “H” section while living in Hawaii? I continued to have them, and in fact, the better my skills with horses became, the more they would come. I no longer find it “unusual” when these feelings and sensations arise; in fact, I find them miraculous, and they often help me determine what is needed in specific situations while I’m riding and training. I believe they are “memories” from lives I’ve had previous to this one, and this has been confirmed multiple times during consultations I’ve had with animal communicators, including the renowned Sonya Fitzpatrick. In my first session with Sonya, in reference to my mustang, Penny, she stated “You’ve been together many times in past lives.” Additionally, she added “You’ve got quite an understanding of horses, you know. You’ve been a horse in many past lives. You haven’t just been a human.” Now… I know that I probably just lost some of you with this “woo woo” admission to the controversial use of communicators, and you may think I am some sort of VooDoo, New Age nut, but as Sonya spoke those words to me, it all made perfect sense. It tied together what I had felt for years…that my deep connection with horses went beyond this lifetime. It also became clear to me that, the more I dedicated myself to learning about and studying how to work with horses in the present, the more I was able to intuit and access my “previous” experiences, which has been an invaluable tool.
Believing in past lives (or not), really isn’t here nor there, but having access to your intuition, your instincts and emotions – your Inner Wild – is. In fact, it is instrumentally important if you would like to connect and have a truly special relationship with these magnificent animals. I wasn’t just born with all the knowledge, experience and skills I have now, I worked hard to earn this. Yes, maybe I had some past life experiences, and got some interesting “hints;” but I still had to put the time in to really gain the understanding I have today, and I got help when I needed it. We need all the help we can get to access this lost, wild part of ourselves; and that is why I make use of, and highly recommend practitioners that are gifted, intuitive and the “real deal” — they can help guide the way.This has been an incredible journey for me, quite literally the ride of my life. If this is the sort of mission that is calling to you, please don’t hesitate to call on me. I am here and passionate about sharing this trail ~ Midori