I am privileged not due to material wealth or accessibility to places not accessible to many people. I lost most of my material wealth and live paycheck to paycheck like 64% of my fellow Americans. I am privileged because I have experienced a connection with horses. Most people never experience this. Strangely, many who ride horses never find this connection. This is the litmus test. Take the halter off your horse after a ride and observe their reaction. Most horses will turn and walk away.
I am not sure why this is so rare. What I do know is this: horses are highly intuitive and want to help humans who are open and willing. I discovered this early on. Now, working as a therapeutic riding instructor, I have witnessed how horses will change their behavior when they meet people with disabilities. Not all horses but most horses understand they have been assigned a job. Most horses, once they learn their job, show up with something that cannot be taught. They show up with love.
I ride Logan thanks to his caretakers Anne and Juliane. He is an older Connemara Thoroughbred. He has a sensibility about him while very generously offering affection to humans. We have been working together for about two months. This is my first experience working with one horse multiple days per week. I have ridden many horses but I am usually riding irregularly and whenever the owners are not riding.
With Logan, we keep it simple. My intention is always the same. When I meet with him, my goal is to help him so he can help me. Not the reverse.
Last week after our ride, I took off his saddle and bridle, giving him the chance to roll in the arena. This is a favorite activity of many horses. Logan did not move. So I decided to walk away signaling him that it is okay to roll. Instead, he followed me. I turned left. He turned left. I turned right. He turned right. We walked around the arena together with no physical attachment.
This is what Buck Brannaman calls a “true union” or what Monty Roberts calls “joining up.” It is an indescribable feeling. There was nothing but this moment. I did not want the moment to end. I had all the wealth that I needed. Do not be fooled. There is only one true privilege. That is connection with another. Everything else is an illusion. The horses are waiting patiently.