Training the Mind of the Horse and Rider

Training the Mind of the Horse and Rider
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Friday, February 18, 2011


Coincidence? Maybe, maybe not.

My daughter, Sara, is encouraging me to get over the sadness of Finny’s death. She understands what I am feeling, and she wants me to get past this stage of sadness, and to get to acceptance. She is encouraging me so that I can remember Finny fondly, with happy memories, and not of sadness and with tears.

Sara told me about a book, “Shack” by William Young that she listened to on tape. She said it would help me get beyond my grief to acceptance.

Hubby and I took a vacation recently. I took 2 books and read them both. On the return trip home, I picked up 2 books from the airport to read, you know, the romantic novel, easy reading, type.

I have a few favorite authors, including Richard Paul Evans. So I didn’t think anything when I picked up his book, “The Walk”, glancing at the back cover, reading the description, and bought it along with another book.

Little did I know how much this book would affect me. I’m not sure I’ll be able to read the book, “Shack”, that Sara has recommended, for awhile. This book was sad enough.

“The Walk” is about a man who loses his wife, his job, and his lifestyle. His wife had a terrible accident with a horse, and she died of complications. While I read about her pain, and her telling her husband that she was leaving him, my heart was in my throat. I had that lump that everyone talks about. I was afraid to do anything except to keep reading. If I did anything else, I would start crying. I didn’t dare talk out loud.

The husband lost his wife, and then lost his business to a lousy partner. He lost his home to foreclosure. He decided to walk as far away as he could from Seattle, Washington. That destination was The Keys, Florida. I had a Great-Aunt who lived in Key West. Coincidence again?

How could losing a horse compare to losing a loved one? I don’t know the answer to that. I’m sure it doesn’t compare. Maybe the question should be “how can one who has suffered a loss, heal”? I’m sure there are those who don’t think a broken heart from losing a pet or a horse can compare to a broken heart from losing a loved one. All I know is that I lost a dear Grandmother, a Father-in-law, a Brother-in-law, and the pain is the same. Right now, I’m thinking that the pain I feel is different, and I know it is different, and it is deeper. I knew I was losing my Grandmother Ruth. I knew my husband was losing his brother and his dad. I didn’t know I was losing Finny. I didn’t know how much he touched my heart.

Maybe then, the difference was that I felt “at lost”. Maybe now I’m getting over the grief. Maybe I’m getting over the guilt. I do know that I could have done more, but at the time of year that Finny died, I know now that it shouldn’t have mattered. Maybe I’m starting to get over the guilt. Especially when I read about a man who loses his beloved wife. How can it compare to that. And should it?

Getting back to the book, “The Walk”, the husband lost everything. And he is in pain. He lost his wife, who was his best friend from the age of 8. He decided to walk away as far as he could. And he started his walk.

This book is about the first part of his walk. This is a series, and there will be more books. I can’t imagine his pain. He lost his wife, his best friend. He started walking so that he couldn’t feel the pain. Until nighttime. Then he felt the pain of being alone. I know his pain. I know the emptiness that he is feeling.

I read this book, thinking that, as I was reading, this was the book that Sara was talking about. But it's not, and I'm not sure I could read the other book if it's a sad book.

Maybe I'm looking for answers. Maybe I'm looking for the way to heal. Maybe I'm looking for forgiveness. I don’t want to feel guilty anymore.

Doesn’t anyone understand? I tried to do my best, and my best wasn’t enough? That isn’t a good feeling. And I need to get beyond that, because now, I am understanding and feeling and knowing that isn't true.

Alan, the man in the book, began his walk. I’m sure his heart was heavy. Before his walk, he got his wife’s pills and he was going to take them, to stop his pain. But he stopped, because he promised his wife he would live. And the only way he could live without her is to walk as far away as he could from where he lived with her.

I am learning to live without Finny. I got another horse of a different breed and that wasn’t what I should have done. It was an important step, but not the right one. That horse was the first step to healing my heart, and I will always remember her for that. Now it’s time to move on.

Just like Alan who is walking his way into healing. I will ride my way into healing.

Yes, Sara, God only gives us what we can handle. I can now handle this grief which has turned into acceptance, and one day, will turn into (and now I pause to figure out the what) fond memories.

Thank you, God, for the time you gave me with Finny. I still hurt, and the tears still come, but only you know the reason. And in time, your plan will be revealed to me.

There is a reason why this is taking me so long to get over. I am now willing to wait for you to reveal that to me. Will another horse come into my life that will mean as much to me as Finny did, and without his death, would not have meant anything to me? Would another horse come into my life to give more meaning and purpose to my life with horses? Then that makes me wonder why Finny had to suffer, and that makes me sad all over again. Do you understand what I am going through? The torture? What the cause of his death did to me? Could it have been prevented?

Finny’s death can not compare to the death of a loved one. I know that. And I know that, with life, comes death. When and how is the question.

Knowing that all things die and they go to meet our Maker, is what makes death bearable. I am getting over the guilt of not being able to preserve Finny’s life on earth longer. My Maker wanted him in Heaven for a reason. Finny being away from me hurts me more than you know, and that I can type, and the realization of that has tears running down my face, but my Lord knows best.

My heart is in my throat again. The pain is almost unbearable, and I question the reasoning. My Lord, why? When so much good could have come from him living. And the sobs come.

I don’t have the answers. Except there is a reason. Far greater than we can know.

But my heart aches. And I want to heal. Lord, help me heal.

Maybe that is what He is waiting for. For me to ask Him for help.

And after a few moments of that sinking in, and asking why, I feel a peace.

Lord, help me heal, and be at peace.

And like I told Sara, and what I truly believe, everything happens for a reason.

Lord, with your ultimate wisdom, I don’t understand, but someday I will. Finny died for a reason. I pray that it makes me a better horse woman. Compassionate. Patient.

I will pass on whatever I learn. Please teach me and show me what you want me to teach.

I am tired of grieving. I want to heal. I want to remember Finny with fond memories and not tears, and I will.

Please, God, whatever you want to reveal to me, please do so, so that my heart can heal and that I can teach others.

Your wisdom should be what we all strive for.

I don’t think I’ll be able to read “The Shack”.


Cheryl Ann said...

I lost my Beauty in June, 2009 and I still mourn her loss. Like you, I feel I didn't do enough with her. I got a new horse from a rescue, Quad, and he has helped heal my heart, but it is as you said, "WHY?"...There is never an easy answer. She died in a freak accident overnight (she rolled, got cast, and hit her head trying to get up). I never got to say "goodbye" to her...While it breaks my heart that she is gone, Quad needed a home. He now nickers when he sees my car drive up to the ranch, just like Beauty used to! She was only 5 years old...No, it isn't easy. I have a blog dedicated to her memory, but it isn't easy visiting it either...I'm sorry, I have no answers.

Horses Are Our Lives said...

Cheryl Ann, I know what helps me get over my loss is reading about others, like you, who have also lost a special horse and how they are coping. How wonderful for you to take in Quad and how comforting it must be to hear his whinny. I know your heart aches, and you miss her. Whenever you can, go to your blog of her, and one day you will be smiling as you look at it. I know you will, as I hope to be smiling one day when I look at Finny's book. The healing just takes a long time. In that time, we must give our love to another horse. I don't know of any other way I can heal if I don't have a horse. I'm having 2 foals coming in early June, and I know they will help my heart. thanks for sharing. hugs! Brenda

Greener Pastures--A City Girl Goes Country said...

Brenda, I'm so sorry to hear about Finny! I just finished reading this post and your last one. He was a gorgeous boy.

I lost my first pony Cherokee to colic 34 years ago. I still cry about him. And I still feel guilty because I didn't do enough--I thought I could walk him and he'd be okay. Hey, I was a kid! Every time I lose an animal, I think of it as I have an opening now. No other animal can take their place but it doesn't mean I can't fill up the hole with love.

Also, what we feel is relative. Don't feel guilty because you loved an animal and it's not a person. We can't measure our broken hearts. Sometimes I wonder what am I crying about because I lost my mother when I was 49-years-old and my girlfriend lost her mother when she was five. Who am I to complain? I was lucky I had her that long! But it doesn't matter. Because it's what we feel and you can't measure it.

I'm trying to get through the grief also. I'm planning to order the book, "A Grief Observed." It had a really good review. Oh, "The Shack." I did not like it at all! Too hokey.

I wish I could get my father to read that book "The Walk." He can't get over my mother. Not that you ever "get over" anyone that you've loved. They were married for fifty years. They were kids when they got together and during my mother's leukemia, even though they had some insurance, the medical bills forced them to spend their whole life savings. They had to sell the family house. He now lives in a little studio apartment and sometimes he cries that he wants to die. I'll have to read it first to make sure it doesn't make him sadder.

The thing is, we have to fill up the holes. I hope my father finds another woman someday. She will never be my mother but she will be someone who he can enjoy and love. For herself. And we can never have too much enjoyment and love. Just like you will find another horse you can enjoy and love. He won't take the place of Finny. But he will help you fill up that hole. For himself.

Horses Are Our Lives said...

thanks to everyone who has helped me with your kind words. I have been on a very special journey, with the loss of Finny, and you have helped with my healing.


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