iSpyHorses --  Thu, 23-Apr-2020

"I was five years old when I saw a sign ‘pony rides for 50 cents’. I can still recall being hoisted up onto that pony and the light travelling through my body. It was bliss. And I was hooked.
My parents were immigrants. They travelled here to escape the war and real hardship. They had their own trauma and were consequently very strict and secretive. They hid their problems. Nobody wanted to be judged. Anxiety and depression could be seen as bad behaviour. The hypocrisy normalised a way of being and I always felt that I was wrong. There’s been alcohol and eating disorders and mental instability. I only just told my parents about the sexual abuse.
"It’s only now that I understand. My behaviour was a perfectly normal reaction to a very abnormal environment. I came across as angry and out of control and naughty. But I was emotionally bruised and terrified. I walk my horse along the beach for us both to feel the freedom. There are no barriers here. Unlike working your horse in an arena or keeping them fenced in and using harsh bits and spurs and whips to control them. At the beach we just be. I’d let her off the lead and of course she’d follow me but I can’t because there’s a chance of idiots in cars.
I’m on a journey of finding out who I am. There are parallels. My horse is feisty but also so gentle. She’s been judged as rebellious and defiant. I say she’s spunky and opinionated. We both come from a generation that doesn’t always value or even recognise other’s opinions.
The horse world can be cruel. My horse has taught me about the power of cooperation in a relationship. Rather than domination. Rather than rule, I show leadership. We communicate without words and we trust each other. There are parallels between us. We’ve been bruised and misunderstood. We are a product of our environment and we are often judged as being naughty and unruly. Here we are free of the structures and control that life imposes on us. It’s just me and her together. Working out our personal issues."

(Kariotahi Beach, New Zealand )

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