The most valuable lesson I have learned is that the most meaningful journey is the inner journey.

The Healing Hooves

My many life lessons learned from my equine companions

Jean Edelman: Great to be with you today. Happy holidays! Today I want to talk about living from our heart and our connection with our animals. This is a magical time of year, family and friends, but it’s also very stressful. Busy busy busy. And the challenge is to take the time for self-care and to live from our heart. The challenge is to have boundaries and to not over obligate ourselves.

I’ve talked a lot this year about tuning into our intuition and listening. So here is the question during the busy holiday season. Are we taking the time to listen to our animals? Are we taking the time to listen to the animals in our life?

The story I want to share is about the amazing horses in my life. Horses have always been magical to me. I remember being a little girl and walking about in the woods with my friends and seeing horse prints. It was like, wow, where did they come from? I was amazed, and I remember my dad renting horses and taking me out for trail rides, and that was fun.

But my journey started when I was 45 and Ric bought me my first horse. His name was Merlin. Merlin was a Friesian and he took my breath away. You know Friesians. They’re the horses that you see in the movies, with the long black manes and feathers in their feet, and they move with tremendous grace and ease.

Merlin was my greatest teacher. When I was super stressed, he would just literally stop and the lesson was with my mind racing, I was not tuned in to him. And he wanted me to be with him and not running through the list of things that I needed to do. He was a great teacher for me. He opened my mind and my heart.

And when he was having some swallowing challenges, he would send me pictures in my dreams for what he needed to be safe in his field. What you say? A horse sending me messages and pictures in my dreams? Yes. This was his greatest gift to me. Opening my intuitive connection to him. 1,000 pound horse. Well, let me tell you, I was hooked. That love connection. The communicating with 1,000 pound horse always filled me with joy.

After Merlin, I was honored to own and care for a mare named Ginger. She was a ton of fun to ride. We would go to the local parks. We rode in parades. She was brave, fun and very friendly. And then I had an opportunity to take care of Harmony. Harmony, we adopted from a therapeutic writing program. She had served many a years and many a families and brought many a smiles. And when she came to retire with me and she lived with us, she was a beautiful, loving girl.

So let’s fast forward to today. Two amazing horses in my life. Blue, a quarter horse Shadow, an Arabian. But I want to share specifically about Blue. We recently had to say farewell to our beautiful Blue. But I just want to share, she was always watching and waiting for whatever was to come next. She was always loving and taking care of every rider that she ever engaged with. She was patient and quiet and she knew how to take care of her rider, young or old. Blue always knew what she wanted and quietly shared that with me every day.

When I would walk up to Blue in the morning, I could feel her heart, the love coming from her. She would whinny at me and swish her tail and go to her stall and wait for her breakfast. So having this beautiful, beautiful mare Blue in my life really taught me another level of our heart connection and listening to the messages from our animals.

For me, that connection started with my beloved Merlin and has been amplified these many years with Blue and Shadow. With any animal. When we connect with our hearts, they know they are loved and cared for. They know that we are doing the best we can for them. When we look them in the eyes and connect with our love and compassion, there’s no greater moment. Connecting hearts with the horse.

Let me tell you, there’s no words. It is a wave. It is a cocoon of love. It is a hum of tenderness and compassion. Love and trust and respect. And this just washes over you. Horses are very, very honest. Blue would tell me, with a flick of an ear or a gaze, which fields she would prefer to be in for the day. She would let me know if I was running late with her breakfast or any meal, and she would tell me when she had enough grooming and she just wanted to rest in the sun.

The benefits of being around a horse last long after we have moved on to other activities. Horses help us be in the moment. Horses help us focus on one thing at a time. Horses are mirrors to our emotions and help us look at ourselves. They never judge. They only love. Horses are truly, truly magical. I’m forever grateful to Ric for Merlin. If he had said no to my first horse, I would never have known this amazing piece of myself and the ability to connect with these magnificent animals.

I have been blessed to know many, many horses, and these horses that have been in my life have just helped me grow and understand myself so much better, and I’ve just had so much gratitude for them. But my Blue girl, my Blue girl I’m going to miss her. For a long time she was very special and she taught me a lot about myself, and she helped me understand animal communication on just a whole different level.

And so to my Blue girl, I’m very, very grateful. And for Miss Shadow. Miss Shadow, she is such a sweet little girl. She is the 30-year old Arabian and Miss Shadow is back with her family and her horse buddies. She has three other horse buddies and they hang out all day and I get to go over and give treats and hang out with her mom and dad. And who are the most awesome people on this earth? So I’m just grateful, grateful, grateful.

So my word of the week and this holiday season when everyone’s hustling and bustling around, my word of the week is Horse.

The H is for Heaven, because that is what heaven on earth is. When you have the love of a horse in your life. If you can somehow find access to a horse. It is where we can open our hearts and know pure love. That is what it’s like when we are with our horses. That is what it’s like when we are with our animals. We can open our hearts and experience love and gratitude and kindness, and opening our hearts to our animals is like nothing else in our day. We need to respect and show kindness to these beautiful, beautiful beings.

The O is for Original. We are each original and so are our animals. They all have personalities because they’re so pure. They will gladly share their personality with you. It’s so easy to smile and find joy and laughter when we’re around a horse.

The R is for Respect. Respect our horses. All animals are smart. And all animals have minds. And all animals know what they need. And all animals know kindness. So if we just listen to our animals, if we would just explain things, they understand words and they will communicate back. There’s no greater joy in the world than a happy, safe, content animal.

The S is for Serene, calm and untroubled when you pass horses grazing in a field. Isn’t it the most serene and calming feeling you ever have? It makes us stop. It makes us take a moment. It helps us breathe.

The E is for Empathy, to care and compassion and understanding. That is what we should have for all animals, large and small. It would be such a wonderful world if we all had empathy.

So my message is if you can spend some time around a horse, maybe just go volunteer to brush them, clean their stalls, give them a carrot or an apple. Watch your fingers. Notice how your breath gets more relaxed. Notice how your shoulders come away from your ears. Notice how you find yourself smiling hours after you have left the barn.

I wish you a wonderful happy holiday season, safe with tons of hugs from your animals and from your family and friends. Talk to you next week.

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