Horse Crazy


I saw my first horse at the age of five when my father walked me down a dusty Tallahassee road to a stable near our home. How to describe what happened to me that day? Have you ever fallen in love at first sight? That’s how it was with me. I was knocked out, bowled over, and blown away by the magnificent creatures I saw that day and I’ve been crazy about them ever since.
Perhaps you know a horse-crazy teen-aged girl. The odd thing is, this phenomenon is far more common in girls than boys. What’s that all about? I’ve asked myself and others this question for years, as have many horse lovers, and I think I may have found an answer.
Love is about nurturing and being nurtured. Each of us carries around an unconscious blueprint inscribed with thousands of memories, feelings, and associations related to the people who cared for us as children. Some are positive and some negative, but when someone or something comes along that resembles that blueprint, our soul responds with profound emotion while the clueless ego stands there and wonders, “What just happened?”
Which brings me to the symbolism of horses. Think about it. Horses are big and warm. Their coats are soft and smooth, they smell good, and they carry you around. Your mother was big and warm. Her skin was soft and smooth, she smelled good, and when you were a baby she carried you around. Or not. Either way, that’s what you wished for.
Horses are so tall that when you’re on their backs you’re higher than everyone else, which makes you feel important and special. Isn’t that how you felt in your mother’s arms?
When you spend a lot of time with horses and treat them with love, they love you back and serve you willingly and faithfully. That feels really good, the way an attentive mother makes you feel. And if your mother didn’t make you feel that way, your unfulfilled need became part of your blueprint.
If you ever get lost when you’re riding in unfamiliar territory, all you have to do is trust your horse and it’ll always take you home safely. So will most mothers.
Horses have an uncanny knack for knowing exactly what you’re thinking and feeling. Did you ever suspect your mother might be a mind-reader?
And here’s the clincher. With horses, you get to be the boss. These humongous, potentially dangerous creatures have to do what you tell them to — go fast, go slow, go here, go there, jump, stop, turn around — and if they won’t, you get to punish them! Now is having that kind of power over your mother the dream and demand of every savage young ego or what?
In sum, I think horses are mother substitutes. All children need their mothers’ affirmation of their power, lovableness, and worth. But since girls tend to identify primarily with their mothers, they have a special need for maternal intimacy and reassurance. So if we have nurturance issues with our mothers, some of us work them out with the horses we love. And some go on to fall in love with our Sacred Mother as well. Happy Mother’s Day.
Thanks to Jodie Otte for permission to use this amazing photograph.

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0 Responses

    1. No you don’t, brother. Did Daddy ever take you down that road to the stable? You were probably in 1st grade and I was still in pre-school recovering from measles. It’s so weird to me that two people from the same family can find such different goals at the end of the same dusty road. Love you, Jeanie

  1. What a wonderful story Jeanie. It is so interesting how we see things and feel things. In my case, only having raised a (wonderful) stepdaughter and never having my own children I may have missed the boat on nurturing! Horses are such majestic animals which have always drawn me to them (starting at a very young age), and with my own horse I feel that I have so much love to give and want to protect him from any danger, sickness, etc. And yet, I do see in my horse the same gifts (or instincts)……..he has protected me and showed love that only a special bond will do. So as with mother and child, they want to keep each other safe, protect and love; and only they have that same special bond. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Thank you for your comment, Fern. I’m glad you liked it.
    If you missed the boat on nurturing in your early years, you’re certainly making up for it now with your horse, who is very lucky to have you!
    Until very recently I never thought of my horse, Shadow, or any horse I ever knew, as a symbol for my mother at a conscious level, and I had no idea what it was about them that I loved so much. I just knew being with them felt so amazingly good. Then I read that Carl Jung wondered if the horse might not be a symbol for the mother, and that he believed horses express the magic side of Man, ‘the mother within us’, by which he meant intuitive understanding. That’s when the light bulbs went on. I made so much sense to me that my love for horses parallelled my passion for understanding myself and the Sacred Feminine — which, of course, is also a symbol for something vitally alive and deeply wise within all of us that feels very benevolent, protective, and maternal.
    Warmy, Jeanie

  3. Very well put Jeanie. You are such an inspiration, and I enjoy reading your blogs.

    1. Thanks for the vote of confidence, Fern! It feels very good knowing you’re enjoying them! I envy you riding your majestic horse in this wonderful weather! I really miss that.

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