There is a special horse at the ranch that has captured my attention over the past several months. Since she arrived, there has been something pulling me towards her in a way very difficult to explain.
Her name is Picasso and she is a beautiful American Paint mare. As I have gotten to know her, she has been patient with me as I try to understand her message. I may ramble a bit, and I am sure she still has more to teach me, but let me share what I have come to learn from my friend and teacher.
Lesson #1 – We are all a Paint, embrace it.
Her coloring of white, brown, and black is striking. The history of a paint, and the mixture of colors, occurred by breeding several types of horses. People are a mixture as well. Some are a mixture of races and others may be ethnic mixtures, cultural mixtures, societal mixtures, or religious mixtures……but each of us are a mixture that makes us unique. Just as there are no two horses alike, there are no two humans alike. Her appearance is nothing more than showing us her uniqueness. There is no fanfare, no pretense…..she is just Picasso, showing us who she is. As I see it, she is simply saying be yourself, your own uniqueness and light will shine on its own.
Lesson #2 – All of us are damaged in one way or another.
Picasso has suffered great pain. She was intentially pulled behind a trailer and her head and face were severely damaged. Physically she has recovered but there are still emotional damages we continue to uncover. She has many scars and a lip that will always droop. But she is a survivor. We are all damaged in some way. We have physical and/or mental scars. All through our lives things happen to us that impact who we are and how we view ourselves. As we grow older, we all have a choice on how we deal with the damages. We can let them take us down the path of darkness and self-pity or we can view them as a battle scar and grow stronger by embracing them. We also need to recognize that others are damaged. We may not see the damages but they exist. Give others time, their damages are as real as yours. When I look at Picasso, I don’t see the scars or damage, I see a beautiful horse shining in all her glory. She looks at me with a look of understanding. She does not need to know my history to know that we both have our own history that we will overcome. Someday, may I shine as brightly as Picasso.
Lesson #3 – Find a way to Trust, Forgive, and Love.
AFear is a powerful emotion. Many of our animals arrive with a look that can only be described as fear. Fear of the new surroundings, fear of the new life, and fear of us. Many are withdrawn or may even lash out. It takes time to move beyond the fear. They have to learn trust and in many cases forgive. Many come in with damages caused by people. Picasso was one of these animals who was filled with fear but craved human contact. You could see the conflict in her eyes. Slowly our animals learn to trust us. I think the trust comes from all of the love at the ranch. A place of love allows the fear to disapate and trust and love finds the way to the surface. There is no love compared to the love of a animal. Picasso has learned to share her love with everyone at the ranch. Her gentle manner is that of a thankful soul and anyone who has the opportunity to spend time with her will come away changed. I know she has changed me.
Lesson #4 – Take time to play, laughter really is the best medicine.
Horses typically love to be challenged and Picasso’s personality shines when we play. At feed time, I take her grain and we have a game we play. We walk to the far end of her paddock and race to her grain bowl. In the beginning, she would hold back and we would trot to the bowl, allowing me to win. The first time Randy watched this game, he thought she was chasing me. I laughed and told him of our game. Now she shows no mercy and runs to her bowl, mane blowing in the wind. I may never win another race, but I will always be a winner by having the opportunity to care for her. I often laugh at her antics as she tries to cheat by taking off early or turning quick to the bowl. She knows she is doing it and it seems she is laughing at me when I catch her and make her come back. She has taught me that no matter the mood, a little play and laughter makes any day better.
i know there is still much to learn from this majestic horse, but for now, I feel honored that she is sharing her messages with me. I hope I will always take time to listen to the animals. Although no words are ever exchanged, they speak to everyone who takes time to listen. I am thankful my journey has both brought me to the ranch and provided Picasso as a teacher.
Remember Love is universal, take time to hug & kiss your pawed and hooved kids. You will get it back ten-fold……. I am living proof!!