Horsing Around With Gratitude

I’m unabashedly in love with my three Morgan horses. I raised two of them from birth. After they were born I sat in the stall with their mother and rubbed them over every inch of their body except where they would need to stay sensitized after they were grown and I was riding or driving them. This process is called imprinting. We all need to bond to something or we can’t trust.

Meg was my first, born of Malachy. She came out dark brown with a black main and tail. She was lively and curious, and very attached to her mother. I related to her and let her run free when I took Malachy out for a ride.

Meg’s half-brother, Lucky was the same color. He was born with the straightest back and legs I’d ever seen. His name arose over feeling lucky that I was home for his birth, and not visiting an environmental project that I was scheduled to see in England. His name has played tricks on him ever since he was born 9 years ago, causing him to fear for his life after an accident, and to make a miraculous recovery. We are both lucky.

The story about Lucky is worth a post in itself. Perhaps I’ll write that later if you’re interested.

The third horse was a gift. We took her hoping she would turn out to be a good brood mare because Meg has too many metabolic problems and we don’t want to pass them on to her foal. Tupper was 12 when she arrived last year. She didn’t know what humans were for, other than being a nuisance. My helper, Callie, knows how to build confidence and skill, and Tupper now enjoys her work.

So why do I love horses? They are intuitive, sensual, and beautiful, and I have learned important lessons about life from them. Horses gave me a fresh start in life, when I was 11 years old. I won the all-school gymkhana at North Country School and discovered I might turn out okay. I still couldn’t spell or add very well, but from the back of a horse my confidence spread to other areas, and I learned that it doesn’t matter where you begin. Just begin from a place of strength.

Animals teach us not only self-confidence, but empathy. They are different from us, but they have the same feelings. From my horses I have learned presence, patience, compassion and trust. It is with enormous gratitude for the great privilege of knowing them that I begin to share what they mean to me.

What do you feel grateful for?

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21 Responses to Horsing Around With Gratitude

  1. Nancy Myers says:

    Eileen — Just wanted you to know how much I enjoy all your blog posts. I’d love to hear more about Lucky. — Nancy

  2. Carol Roehl says:

    Thanks so much for the gift of your wonderful book and your blogs. They have added so much to my life this year.
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. Eileen, What a wonderful article ! Your love of Meg, Lucky and Tupper shine through ! Please write an article about Lucky’s “miraculous recovery”. Your affection and attachment to your horses conveys your love of loving your pets. HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all !

  4. Hi Eileen, Great article filled with a genuine love for your horses. Please write an article about Lucky’s recovery. You must have a sensitive loving nature to care, so deeply, about so much
    in life. I think your photos in every article are super, inspiring and convey something special.
    I am grateful that my sons will be home for Thanksgiving. I am grateful that I can better understand
    what “hurts and heals” me. I am grateful for the new day, so I can start afresh.

    • Thanks Elaine. I’ll be glad to write about Lucky. So far 3 requests so if I get 5 I’ll do it–or maybe anyway. You give me courage. I’m glad to know you’ll have your sons home for Thanksgiving. And understanding what hurts and heals is an admirable practice. Happy Thanksgiving to you & your family.

  5. Erica says:

    Dear Eileen,

    My name is Erica (and I happen to be Rachel Remen’s assistant, which is how I was introduced to your blog!) I am reaching out because this post about your beloved horses really speaks to me… they are truly magnificent and beautiful!

    As a child I attended horse camp for a week every summer, but as a city girl, I was quite horse deprived. I longed to be near them all the time. I learned to draw them, and I had figurines with a little wooden barn.

    It has always been a dream of mine to have horses, and in the past year I finally met a special someone, who has two, Hunter and Merlot. My sweetheart is a horse whisperer, and he is teaching me how to communicate with them in a way I was never taught. He is also teaching me to learn from them in a way I never have before. It has been a transformational experience. Thier sweet love and ability to forgive is inspiring, and my heart is full and content after spending a day with them. We go at least once every week to visit, love, and play with them. We care for them if they get sick and we listen to them to determine what exercise is best at what times. I have even been learning to help them stretch (I call it horsey yoga!) They are barefoot and bitless, and the most loving horses I have ever met!

    My gratitude for this time with my sweetheart and his wonderful horses cannot be expressed in words. I am convinced the connection between horses and humans can be humbling and healing. Everyone I know who has an equine connection has a story. I believe horses have the ability to help us learn, heal, grow, forgive and love beyond logic.

    So thank you for Horsing Around With Gratitude and inspiring me to express my own gratitude to my beloved and his two beautiful boys!

    Love and hugs,

    • Dear Erica, your gratitude and love for horses is palpable. Thanks so much for sharing. It is a wondrous experience to connect with these magnificent animals. They are so intuitive. And I agree we can learn a lot from horses. Say hello to Rachel for me and have a Happy Thanksgiving.

  6. Callie Richardson says:

    Hi Eileen, looks like we need to take a picture of the 3 horses together! Meg and Lucky look so sweet in the snow here. I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with these 3 excellentl horses and their wonderful owner!
    Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

  7. lulu550 says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to All!! Your article about your horses made me smile. I have been in love with and riding horses since age two. My experiences have been diverse…quarter horses, polo ponies, mustangs, Peruvians and race horses. One thing I know for sure all were majestic, had unique personalities and immediately knew who love and respected them and who didn’t.
    Eileen, please write more not only about Lucky, but all of them.

    • eileenrockefeller says:

      Thanks for tuning in, and sharing your love of horses too! It sounds like you’ve had a lot of experience. And I agree with you that horses have a keen sense of knowing, of intuition about the people around them. I’m encouraged by your comment and will write more about Lucky, and the others at some point or other.

  8. Candy Harding says:

    I am thankful for my family, friends and that my Mom and Dad gave me the opportunity to have horses in my life starting before I could walk and continued my whole life! I know the magic they bring to your life and I have watched with bated breath through the birth of several and the joy of keeping them for their lives! It is an those experiences I will cherish for my entire life. Thanks for sharing your blog!

    • eileenrockefeller says:

      Dear Candy, your experience reminds me that the experiences we have as small children have the most powerful impact throughout our lives. You are fortunate to have known horses since before you could walk. May the love and joy you have derived from them continue with you wherever you go or whatever you do.

  9. Irma says:

    Happy Thanksgiving Eileen!

    Your love for horses is well imprinted in my mind. You even taught me how to feed and wash them, sweet memories. I so miss the snow and your horses and the sleigh rides with you, but please write the story about Lucky… am I somwhere in that story? 🙂 Love you! Stay warm, Irma

    • eileenrockefeller says:

      Dear Irma, How fun to be reminded of our washing and feeding the horses together. I’m so grateful for the sweet memories we share. I’ll write about Lucky but while you are always in the story of people I love, this one will probably not have you in it! Can you stand it???!! lots of love, Eileen

  10. Susan Pollans says:

    I totally understand your passion and gratitude for horses. All I wanted as a child, growing up in a working class family on the south side of Chicago was a horse. It took me a while to understand why this wasn’t feasible. I had to make due with my imagination: my bicycle WAS my horse. As I rode it around the city block, I was on my horse. I have never lost my love for horses. When I am near horses I am always amazed by their beauty, personalities and eyes. When we had our short visit with you last June, the highlight of our time in Middlebury and Shelbourne was the carriage ride we had with you. Your horses are beautiful and I could see and feel your connection to them.
    As Thanksgiving approaches, I would say that I feel gratitude for my family and friends.
    Enjoy your Thanksgiving, Eileen.
    And thank you for your insights.

    Susan Pollans

    • eileenrockefeller says:

      Thanks for sharing Susan. I relate to your bike being your horse and I’m sorry you weren’t able to have one growing up. I hope the story I write about Lucky will bring you a little closer, as if you were right there with me.
      I hope you and your family had a wonderful Thanksgiving. My best to Alan.

  11. Phyll says:

    Your relationship with Meg and Lucky (and animals) is inspiring. Your poetic words moved me greatly, as I can well-relate to the sweetness and sensitivities you so beautifully described. Ever since I was a child, I’ve been drawn to animals in a most mysterious and profound way. They speak to me through their very Beings, they touch me in a way no human ever has (or possibly can). Horses are particularly sensitive souls, their beauty melts my heart; their strength, courage and loyalty, unmatched. My pony, Dancer, is my love and light; my romance and rapture, my wonder and my world.

    Lucky and Meg are beautiful, and I second Susan’s share: our carriage ride was the highlight of my visit last June. One I shall remember forever. A special thanks for letting me “experience” Lucky and Meg, through the reins! Magic moments. Unforgettable joy.

    HAPPY THANKSGIVING from Philadelphia, where I’m visiting my 96 year old Mom who is transitioning to the other side. . .a sad time. . .but a time for thanks, too—that we had a lifetime of happy memories and unending love. She was the right (and best) Mamala for me. I’m glad I read your blog today,Thanksgiving morn. It brought me a sense of serenity and peace. Through-your-words-to-my-heart. Thank you so much, Eileen.

  12. eileenrockefeller says:

    Dear Phyll, I will hold you and your “Mamala” in my heart this week. It is a very big transition to have to say goodbye to one’s mom. The world may seem upside down for a while, even though you are preparing yourself for it. But the mystery of life is how it is ever-changing, and even filling in where other footprints fade. And while some things fade, love will always remain. I’m sure your mom has loved having you as a daughter.
    May the love you have for your animals be your comfort and guide in the time ahead. I believe you are a true animal whisperer. What a gift. With big hugs, Eileen

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