Once upon a time

My childhood memories are intrinsically linked to the image of the horse. I would spend my holidays in the north of Germany (in Vechta closed to Oldenburg) at my beloved grandparents’. A place I would define as the ultimate land of horses. Looking at the endless green meadows of the German countryside bathed in spring sunshine, the eye compares with an undefinable extent of pastures dotted with horses: newborn foals experiencing the first steps, jump and play around.

By nightfall, the green-gold landscape is wrapped in an apricot coloured light that seems almost to be diaphanous. A spectacle of an incredible beauty. The breeders in the neighborhood are nothing less than outstanding personalities such as Paul Schockemöhle. A statue of his brother Alwins’ Warwick Rex, decorates the towns’ main square, confirming the central role of horses in the social and economic life of the region.

Amidst this bucolic landscape, an undeniable admiration  for that majestic animal, which is the horse, got deeply imprinted in my heart.

Winston Churchill was right to suggest that “There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.” The breath of a horse on the hand bewitches and captures, goes through your body in order to take a piece of your heart to the wind. This magical feeling of freedom has never stopped flowing in my veins, leading me to start riding again in adulthood, when learning an unknown art becomes a difficult task.

So there I was, sitting again the back of a horse, immediately struck by love at first sight. Thrill and bliss merged in an absolute moment, able to make me forget about the nitty-gritty of everyday in a split second. It is often said that horses have a healing power and a fundamental role in personal growth paths. Perhaps because, like all animals, they are free of judgment against us and at the same time have the gift of offering a broader reflection of ourselves. In working with horses new perspectives and paths for a very deep kind of exploration of the self may open up. Instinctively we know that horses do not have any expectations towards us. They are sincere and can not be manipulated, respond to our energy and our consistency, our visibility and authenticity and often slip away from us when we are pretending or are inconsistent. I think many people feel relieved by such frankness. For sure I do and I could not miss that feeling of freedom and security that only a horse can convey.

This sport has to be practiced in two. It is a team sport. You need a partner and it is better to get along with him: mine weights 600 kg and I found him in a remote village in Germany. But that’s another story.

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