Just over a year ago my dressage horse, Bear, sustained a career-ending injury in a hind leg while out in an icy paddock. When I heard the devastating diagnosis, time seemed to stand still, as if it was holding space for me while I absorbed the disorienting and overwhelming new reality.
Helping Bear through months of rehab taught me the many lessons of time ~ being in the moment and having patience chief among them. His healing was going to take as long as it was going to take. I had to release all agendas and be what he needed me to be ~ a patient and attentive care giver ~ while he hobbled along the path to wellness.
Interestingly, Bear taught me about patience. He took his four-month confinement in stride. He seemed to know he needed the down time, which gave me permission to release all notions of a timeline for when he had to be better. This was his time to find balance again, and I needed to respect that and be the support he needed.
Daily 10-minute walks in the arena in the bitter cold gave us time to stretch our legs. Appreciating every wobbly step he took and the trust this horse had put in me for his welfare took my connection with him deeper, and gave me a greater appreciation of my role in his recovery. Teaching Bear to smile for a carrot, and other happy distractions, kept his mind engaged and gave me a deeper appreciation for the intelligent clown he really is. Changing his bandages every day helped deepen my empathy for his condition. Watching him heal gradually, over time, gave me the satisfaction of understanding the part I was playing in his healing journey.
Bear’s boo boo forced me to stop and reconsider my relationship with time. Time is a construct we’ve developed to help organize our lives, but instead we’ve allowed it to enslave us. As devastating as the initial report of Bear’s injury was it helped me grasp the value of letting go and letting be. It doesn’t mean it’s always easy, but when I feel myself becoming entrapped by time I remember happy moments spent in the company of a horse finding his way to wellness.
Today Bear is 100 per cent recovered and cavorting in a paddock with a new girlfriend. In the spring we’ll saddle him up and he’ll learn to be a husband’s hack horse. And when the time is right he’ll take his place as the lead horse in my therapy herd.
Had I forced an agenda and not learned the lessons of time, his story might have ended quite differently, and not necessarily so happily.
Nurture what you love …
©Dorothy Chiotti … All Rights Reserved 2016