I pushed open the gate with my knee and curled around it to avoid touching anything with my hands, because, you know.
I took five steps forward – hands on hips – catching my breath as I walked through the field at the end of path by the river. I’d found myself stuck in my head in the days that preceded so I thought best to lean on old remedy, running being my favourite medicine.
It was early morning on a Wednesday and people weren’t yet out on their one twenty minute walk of the day. I was alone, enjoying the silence of the fields and the open green space.
As I crossed the field, bordered by an old wooden fence and trees and bushes that were filling out with the magic of spring, it occurred to me how loud the birdsong was. Was it always this loud? Had I just not noticed it before? Perhaps it had been drowned out by the sound of traffic, planes and the city.
With my breath returning to normal I dropped my hands and looked ahead to the two big horses we’d discovered the week before. Big and round, black and white, with long tasseled manes and bushy tails. One was on the other side of the field, munching on green grass. The other was right in front of me -20 meters or so ahead.
He looked up, chewing the hay in his sideways mouth, trying to interpret my intentions. Was I going to come closer? Did I have any apples today? Was I a threat?
I walked closer, and stopped around 10 meters out. I turned my body away just slightly to reduce my intensity and knelt down, just relaxing, observing, being.
It had been a very busy two weeks, going live more often in my communities, making more videos than usual and navigating a new way of life on lockdown. I hadn’t really stopped for a second to let it all settle in.
I watched the horse gently and it watched me back, still unsure of my intentions, which were to be still and enjoy the presence of this magnificent animal.
I love horses. I love all animals and in truth, being around them is a huge and fundamental part of my mental health.
A few minutes passed and I became more aware of the morning breeze, as my body cooled from the run – only my third of 2020. He looked on, checking, asking, wondering, waiting.
Then to my surprise, his front legs buckled slowly, gently, purposefully, followed by his back legs and he lowered himself to the floor, as easily as a beast of that size can do anything like that.
I could barely control my delight.
I know that horses lie down to get their REM sleep and it’s not uncommon for a horse to lie down once a day, but it is also a sign that they are full, content and comfortable in their surroundings.
I watched on quietly and finally, the tears, tension and emotion I’d been holding on to all week came pouring out in a beautiful, full body cry. And I felt immediately better.
After a few moments, a dad and daughter came through the gate behind me, excited to see the horses. I stood up, nodded to the horse (who had already shot back to his feet) and said thank you as I moved on.
Remember, we’re human and we’re not supposed to hold it all in and bear the load alone. Consider how you like to unload and relax and make space to let it happen.
From Lisa and the horse x x