Why we do, What we do …

Why do we do, what we do …

Below is a blog post I wrote after one of our school visits with Rico. I think this says it best… (It’s personal. Deeply)

I walked these very steps when I was 6 years old, Gregory Elementary was my first grade school.

It was a difficult time in my life, my parent’s recent divorce was unspeakable for me. I had no words for how I felt, no way to explain the abandonment inside. One week with my mom, in the apartment only a few blocks from this school. One week with my dad, at the little country house just outside of the city, the one I had thought I would grow up in.

An emptiness had slipped in. It was like I felt a little lost, no matter which week it was, no matter which parent presently had me. My parents had not abandoned me, but rather my feeling of being safe inside had simply vanished. It was almost as if I had abandoned myself.

But somehow with the horses, I always felt safe. Deep inside of me, in a place that I had no words to describe, I just simply felt safe. And even at 6 years old on these very steps, when the horse was only present in my imagination. The simple thought of the horse filled me with an inner space of safety. Replacing my inner abandonment with a presence that I still lean into today.

So maybe it will not come as a surprise that everytime I visit this particular school site for our I AM HERD programming, I am struck by these same steps I walked, by my own insecurities at 6 years old, by the way the timeline seems to fold upon itself. Like I was 6 yesterday, not 34 years ago. Like there was a real life horse at the base of these steps on the day I walked them, not just the imagined one inside.

I do not know all the struggles these children face that now surround me and my precious horse partner on these steps. I imagine they are much more difficult than even my own at their age. But I do know that my heart would have leapt to the heavens to see a real live horse in the front yard of this school, right here 34 years ago.

I still find it hard to put words on what the horse truly does for me, or what it is that the horse does for these children we support.

Sometimes telling a story seems to be the only way, kind of like a poem can point to that which cannot be spoken. A real life story can sometimes do the same …

So, I want to share with you a story of the first time a young girl touched a horse. This young girl was in our program just yesterday, she is one of the beautiful faces on these steps. And though this is her unique and true story, it also is the story of every one and so I share it, as if you are she …

Imagine being this young girl, standing beside a real live horse being with the hugest eyes you have ever seen. And you are so taken back by their presence that, even though you are afraid, you simply cannot look away. And just as you get close enough to touch his face, a sound explodes beside your ear … a truck has crashed into a pothole, the busy road only a few feet away from where you stand in your schoolyard. Your body cannot help but to leap back in response. And then you look again to see, this real life horse being is unmoved, unchanged by the loudest banging, steadfast in his gentle presence and inner space of peace. And so you try again, reaching back out to touch his skin. Two fingers softly connect…

“Oh he is so soft, it feels like my own skin.” You say.

A touchstone with a newfound knowing that this horse is safe, that this horse is a space of peace and maybe, just maybe you are too.

Your skin is more the same that it seems.

It is my deepest honor to have brought Rico to meet these students yesterday. Each and every one were so engaged and soaked in the opportunity with a present moment awareness that was as beautiful as this precious horse being I brought with me.

Rico is truly the embodiment of a steadfast space of peace. He reminds me of the horse I imagined as I climbed these steps at 6 years old. He reminds me that I too am this. That this peace, this safety, this overflowing presence is alive within me too. A presence I still lean into today.

Thank you to Communities In Schools for your trust in I AM HERD, to offer our enrichment programs to these wonderful students you serve.

Thank you to the Corolla Wild Horse Fund for entrusting I AM HERD to offer a forever home to this wild one.

Thank you – to you – to every one that donates to make this I AM HERD dream come true.

Thank you, to every one that makes this I AM HERD dream come true.

~ Mary & the Herd

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