One of my interns at the ranch was a teenager from a troubled background. She had been guarded with me in the beginning, and a bit awkward with the horses. Often she’d grab a chance to stroke the face of whichever horse was closest when she threw them hay. Then there was always a glance at me to make sure I approved. I would quickly look away always a second too late but with hopes that she would have her own intimate time with the horses without relying on my approval.
Three years have gone by since she first came here, and being with the horses has brought many changes in her. The other day she was working on the pasture side of the fence removing dangerous fragments of barbed wire from a fence post. While she worked on the wire, one of the horses, Dollar, came from behind and put his head on her shoulder making her work a little more challenging. She giggled with enjoyment but said his timing sucked. As she was telling me about it, Dollar wrapped his head and neck around her, hiding her in a hug. I instinctively asked her how it made her feel. She said, “loved.”
I felt a warmth emerging from deep inside. Through our years together, she had grown comfortable with the horses, with me, and most of all with herself. In her own personal time with this horse, she was able to receive love from him and to recognize it. More importantly she allowed herself to feel it. Isn’t that what we all are wanting?