When I was a child, I read a book about a boy who went into the wild to become a man. His task was to find a wild horse and tame it. The book was about his journey to find his horse and then convince the horse to come back with him, and only then would his community accept him as an adult. This story put a seed in my mind of what could be possible between horse and human and that seed found its way into my heart. After I left home, I went out in search of my own horse, my own spirit horse.
My Journey was, as journey’s are, hard and beautiful. I looked into the eyes of many young horses, ones that had limited contact with people and came with a cheap price tag. My goals were humble, I would like to be able to jump, learn the art of classical dressage, but above all else, I envisioned a bond that was solid, where the horse could read me from the inside out and I could read them, inside and out. After looking for months, which was a journey on its own, I came to a small farm where a long yearling was posted for sale. I went to a pen and there stood a shaggy small horse with a huge head. I felt like his giant curious eyes saw into my soul. He stood at the pen, and put his hoof on one of the fence posts between me and him and my heart clicked. This was my horse - His name, Apollo.
Apollo didn’t pass the vet check but, for some reason, that didn’t concern me for what I saw was more spirit than issues and so in a leap of faith, I bought him for what is considered pennies in the horse world.
Ten years ago, today, I stood in an arena with this young horse facing me and me facing him and I knew the journey was going to be long but I had faith that our hearts were in the right place.
Since that day, Apollo and I have had more journeys of amazement than I could ever convey. Apollo has gone on long trail rides with me, got stuck in flooding rains and once came face to face with a moose, and another time a bear. He has galloped with me in the field with no tack or rope of any sort, has gone to shows, cross country schooling days, clinics, lessons, pair paces, chased cows and llamas around and even pulled me in a kayak in the snow once. He has saved me from falling off of him a number of times, and has taught me how to teach horses the spanish walk, lead changes, and how to ride with your heart. He knows how to lie down, respond to grounded energy, and gets jealous when he sees me with other horses. We even surprised everyone at my wedding when he walked me down to the ceremony. He has packed kids around who were needing to know they could do this work, and have helped me teach dozens of people on understanding the way of the horse.
He taught me that if something doesn’t make sense, if it doesn’t feel right, if it isn’t explained perfectly, he isn’t doing it. Trying to force him is just going to get all 1,200 lbs of him to shut down and be over it. He taught me about the subtleness of all horses, how they think, what they would say to us if we could listen better, how confused humans are and what stories we have that keep us from connecting. He has been the teacher I didn’t even know I needed.
Apollo has my heart and my trust in a way I could never explain in words, but I think people feel it when they ride with us, sit with us, work with us, and be with us.
To Apollo - I look forward to the next ten years together, the lessons we learn, the places we go. I owe my life and thank you for your patience as we walk this journey.
Apology from Human to Horse "On behalf of humanity, I apologize to the horse for all our ignorance and misdeeds against you. I will continue to strive to correct the hurt, educate those who are willing to learn, and inspire those who are not." -Kaia Livingstone