My heart horse.....after deciding to work in Equine Facilitated Wellness, I figured I probably needed a therapy horse, so I could actually do the work.  One of my classmates had a mare that couldn't be ridden after an injury and thought would be perfect for me.  My younger daughter and I took a trip to Vancouver Island for the day and went to meet Rumor.  Ru, a 16.3hh Hanoverian x Thoroughbred chestnut mare.   She was huge, I was in love.  We had a little walk around, I could feel her energy pulsate through me.  Yep, I will take her!! I am not going to say it was love at first sight, to be honest, I was quite intimidated by her, but she had the kindest eye and the softest muzzle.  So our journey began.

I brought Rumor home and soon found out that she had a very definite opinion of how things were going to be.  Did not like being in a stall, she was pretty aloof from me on some days and on others she needed me to be there to reassure her.  I remember her going crazy one day when the farm was hosting a birthday party, I went out into the field (I had only had her for a few days) and I called her. She came racing over (yep, 1200 lbs of horse hurtling at you, is pretty scary) and skidded to a halt next to me. I haltered her and led her into the corral.  Gave her a bucket of hay and she is settled quite happily.  OK, so another lesson I learned, she likes to be right in the middle of things.  No one puts Ru in the corner!  There were a lot of kids at this party and they wanted to say hi.  I was pretty apprehensive as she was so big and horse move fast, I had seen that first hand for her, however, she knew exactly where all these little ankle nippers were, no matter how small.  She would stand still and have an eye and an ear on them and just know.  She let them stroke her face, neck, knee, as some couldn't get any higher than that!

I quickly realised that as long as I was quiet and in my body, that she was happy.  At the time of buying her I still had my bookkeeping company, which caused me to be in my head rather than in my body. It was stressful, my health was not great and I was irritated a lot.  I soon noticed that if I was like this, Ru didn't want to be with me.  I had to really work for her and her energy, which was really hard for me to do at that time.  We pottered along, I kind of got used to her and she me.  I even got on her a few times and we went out for a ride together.  She hadn't been ridden for  year and was unfit, so we just walked, but it was always a hairy ride. I tried to breathe into my body, exhaling when I was feeling anxious, just like I was taught in my EFW training, didn't always work, we had a few times, where we were cantering sideways down the road, me hanging on for dear life and Ru wondering where the party was at.  Later I would learn, she was just mirroring me.

I noticed that Ru was not always completely sound and so when our vet came to visit, I discovered she had DSLD, this stands for Degenerative Suspensory Ligament Disease.  It is a genetic disease and means that the suspensory ligaments (as well as the fascial all over her body) degenerates, gets stretchy, causing her fetlocks to drop lower to the ground and eventually her ligaments can snap or her legs just cannot support her.  I didn't know this buying her, but to be honest, I am glad I didn't, as I probably wouldn't have bought her.  Going with my head, it would have been expensive vet bills, but I went with my heart and I am so glad I did.  

So early 2020, I sold my company as I couldn't deal with the stress any longer and we hit the COVID pandemic.  I had time, a lot of time on my hands.  I spent more time with Ru, I started to be in my body a lot more and then something happened, we had this beautiful connection.  She wanted to be with me, I could feel her energy pulsate through me, it feels like butterflies all over my body. If she was anxious, I could breathe deep into my body and she would fall in with me, I could calm her down just with my breathe.  I could breathe from my heart and exchange with her heart. The connection was that deep, I could feel her in my sleep, I knew when she was stressed even if I wasn't with her.  

Most days of COVID, I would potter around the barn and would look out into the corral area.  Most mornings she would be laying down by the tree.  The first time, I just sat and watched her, breathing into my body. I slowly made my way to her and she allowed me within 6 feet of her, throwing her head up and ears back when I entered her space.  That was OK, I was happy to acknowledge that she had boundaries and was happy to have me close, but not that close!  We would sit side by side whenever she laid down and invited me in, sometimes I could get right up to her, give her a scratch, or we would sit peacefully side by side just enjoying one anothers company, no expectations of one another.  These were some of my favorite memories of Ru.  One morning, it was a beautiful sunny day, we were the only ones at the barn and Ru was laying down, I took my place next to her and sat down, she then laid flat, so I laid flat, she was snoring and dreaming, gentle winny's to someone and her legs moving slowly.  I have never felt so peaceful, in my head, in my body. I turned to look and saw the donkey's both flat out and also Chicken Joe, our adopted Rooster perching on the gate post.  It was a very beautiful moment and one I will always have.  

If life was too much Ru knew, she would come over to me, stand still and just let me cry on her, she would hold me up, let me know she was there for me.  Sometimes as a mum and wife, we need that support, Ru supported me.  She would let me cry, get it all out and then we would go our separate ways. I would muck out her field and she would wander around after me.  If I called her in the field, she would come galloping over, I always knew she would not run me over, she never did.  She always came right beside me and stopped, skidding to a halt and wanting kisses. Most mornings, we couldn't start our day, until I had scratched her both sides which took about 20 mins.  She would block me, so I had no choice.  She would show me where she needed those scratches, whether it be on her neck, shoulders, poll, back, until my arms were aching and she felt satisfied she was suitably un itchy, we stood together.  I loved being with her, I loved brushing her, just talking to her, sitting with her.  

As we learned to be with one another, we relied on one another a lot.  I knew what she wanted, what she needed.  We worked in therapy sessions with clients and she let me know what they needed and what she needed.  She was an amazing therapy horse.  So big, but so gentle. Don't get me wrong, she had her days where I was hanging on for dear life, but we went off on a many gently walks on her good days, she would lead beside me like a puppy.  Those days got few and far between though, and I could see her legs get worse.  I decided she needed some friends, so adopted two new horses.   Welcome to the herd, Henry and Gramma.  They were both from a rescue and are my therapy horses now.  It took a lot of time for them to settle, there were more bad days than good to start with, but they found their flow.  She was happy running around the fields with them.  It didn't last too long though.  She always knew I was her number one girl.  She would get very jealous of them, but everyone got equal time and scratches!

Our connection was so deep, I knew she was struggling.  I could feel it.  I felt sad and sore.  She was becoming tired and she then had an abscess in her front foot, it took weeks to come through and this put more pressure on her already sore hind legs.  Every morning driving to the barn, I was in tears, I didn't know if she was going to up when I got there.  What if she had gone down through the night.  One evening she was so lame, she couldn't walk. I felt her good hind leg and it was puffy. I bandaged both legs and reassessed the next morning.  Ru hated anything on her hind legs, she thought it was trying to eat her, so when she let me put bandages on, I knew it was not good.  I put a phone call into my vet and explained what was going on.  We both knew it was time.  As I am writing this, my heart is clenching with grief.  It has been nearly 4 months now, but I still miss her.  I miss my girl so much.  She is still with me, she is still in my heart, I still channel her.  I moved my horses to another yard and Ru came with us in spirit.  If I am unsure what to do, I ask Ru, she always had the right answer.  I have a new girl now Kassie, and I use the reassurance of Ru to help Kassie.  I think they would have been great friends and love that my beautiful chestnut warrior horse lives on and keeps teaching me and my horses.  She really was my heart horse, in a literal sense of the word as well as emotionally.  

She opened my heart, it shines a great light and is filled with a warm glow, I still feel her fuzzy muzzle and see her kind eye, especially when she tells me to get back into my body and take a breathe.  If I need that extra spiritual energy, Ru is there in abundance.  When I had reiki sessions, she would be there, licking and chewing, releasing the stress.  She still comes to me in my dreams and we gallop together.  I know I am so privileged to have this connection and to understand a horses energy and love.  As a child, I never understood the sensitivity I had and why I felt so much, but being able to be this connected to another sentient being is truly the greatest honor I could have been given.  Love you Ru, miss you.