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My journey with ‘Boots’ – Part 1

posted in: Personal Reflections 21


Dilemmas, dilemmas – where do I start?
My blog… my thoughts… my galloping heart!

I jump in the car, ‘to the horses’ I think:
The journey’s a blur, and gone in a wink.

I pull on my boots, and slam the door,
And follow the path, through the woods once more.

To the paddocks below, when a sudden breeze,
Grabs a leaf of my note book, I STOP, I freeze…

The moment brings clarity, a sense of relief.
Taking a deep breath, I remember to breathe….

The birds sing brightly, the warm wind lifts my hair.
I step into the paddock, underarm is my chair.

The ground at my feet, stress eases away.
My mind is no longer, running astray.

The beauty of the moment begins to flow,
as I turn my attention to the horses below.

Two horses nibbling, relaxed and calm.
A woodpecker’s drum creates no alarm,

Incessantly searching, for the best morsel of grass.
The spring may be here but the grass is still sparse.

Version 2Clouds float by as they gently tease,
the whole of the herd is at rest, at ease.

A distant dog barks, a kite soars in the sky,
steady hooves step forward, as I hear a sigh.

A feeling of peace spreads over me too,
as I settle down in my chair, under the big blue…

She steps up as I sit, and start to write.
Nostrils flaring, legs spread, ready for flight.

This is the first time I’ve sat in a chair in her space,
and clearly she’s wary, though as gentle as lace.

Our bond is just beginning, for I will not lie.
She steps back, to resume eating, whilst keeping an eye…

It’s been a long time since I’ve had a horse of my own.
The longing for that special connection has not flown.

Without judgement, or agenda, my heart lifts as I glance over,
An opportunity to explore, I am thankful to her owner.

To consolidate my learning, over the past few years,
different methods and approaches, still ring in my ears…

What does it take to loose the label ‘grumpy mare’?
To clarify and communicate, my unique lesson to share?

Inspired by ‘The Chair Challenge’ with Carolyn Resnick

’A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.’ Lao Tzu

Stepping out of our comfort zone is never easy. Despite being a successful horse trainer who has rehabilitated and trained countless horses, run numerous workshops, stood up to give umpteen public talks and demo’s, the written word has always caused me to shy away. The finality of it, the ease of misinterpretation, or being misunderstood has caused me to avoid it as much as possible.

As I start on my first official blog, I embrace my fears, doubts and dyslexic tendencies, (please excuse the dodgy spelling & grammar!) and with excitement and trepidation I begin to write about my journey with ‘Boots’ – the horse with two faces. I hope I can reach out and inspire others to embrace their fears, to open their hearts and minds, and to create the life and relationships they dream of.

Like all of us, I am faced with the reality vs. the dream, the practicality vs. my ideals. We also have many faces: For me they include a wife, mum, horse trainer, coach, a public persona and a private one… For Boots, perhaps, it is more simple, relaxed vs. agitated, curious vs. fearful, playful vs. angry?

All of this and more I hope to explore and I’d like to get to know you too. So please comment below and share your thoughts, dreams, challenges and fears. What problems are you experiencing with your horse and what first step are you going to take to make a change?

So for now, if you would like to receive our future blogs, please sign up for our Newsletter at the bottom of this page…

Next time I will be sharing Part 2 of my story. As I aim to help people to experience the joy found in a mutually beneficial partnership and empower people to become the person our horse really wants to follow.

Before then, thank you so much for taking the time to read this.

Till next time, enjoy the moment, with a little TLC

With best wishes


21 Responses

  1. Hazel-Ann
    | Reply

    Congratulations on embracing your misgivings and sharing your words in a blog! I, for one, am delighted! I owe you so much for you have given me an excellent foundation on which the gorgeous Buttons and elegant Ebony have built (for they have now taken over as my teachers!). I remember so well those early days when I was almost completely ignorant and how you set me on a direction which has led (with the help of others, too) to my being able to live my dream. From the start I have loved your calm presence, your practical advice, and, probably most of all, your openness to new ideas and learning opportunities, so I am definitely looking forward to hearing more about your journey with Boots.

    • Debbie
      | Reply

      Thank you so much Hazel-Ann for your kind words as you too have been a great inspiration to me. It has been such a pleasure to see you grow in skills and confidence around the horses and to watch your journey develop over the years. With best wishes, Debs xx

  2. Susie Little
    | Reply

    Having read your first instalment it’s hard to see why writing has ever been a demon to be faced Debbie! I enjoyed following your inspiring “chair challenge” and will look forward to getting to know Boots through your blogs.

    • Debbie
      | Reply

      Ha ha, you won’t believe how long it has taken me!! Still, it can only get easier…

  3. Ian
    | Reply

    Wow that’s the first ever blog that’s put a lump in my throat mainly because I now understand.
    Thank you Debs

    • Debbie
      | Reply

      Thank you Ian 🙂

  4. Lyndsay Turnbull
    | Reply

    Hi Debbie, I’m looking forward to part 2.
    After bringing my cob/haflinger, Lily, to you, for help with a lack of connection with her, I was able to see clearly that her reluctance to respond to me was not personal!
    This has helped me enormously to step back and allow her the time and space she needed to think.
    Our relationship has completely changed, for the better, and I am now using this understanding with my new mare, Bess, that came to me last year.
    She is completely different from Lily, so there is a lot more to learn, but at least I am able to step back when we get stuck, realise it’s not deliberate, and it’s definitely not personal, and that gives us both room to breathe and think again.
    I often remind myself of a quote by Ray Hunt: ” A horse only does what he thinks he’s supposed to do, or what he thinks he needs to do to survive. ”
    Not personal!!

    • Debbie
      | Reply

      Hi Lyndsay, wonderful to hear how things have progressed with Lily, and that you are now able to apply what you have learnt to your new horse. I love that they are such individuals and taking the time to step back and get to know them as such, is so important. I look forward to hearing how things progress as you explore what works for you both in this new partnership. With best wishes 🙂

  5. Fiona Paul
    | Reply

    WOW! Debbie you told me you had written a poem & it would give me a good laugh – well that is the furthest from the truth. It has made me very emotional – emotional tears, really moving. Like Ian said a lump in my throat. Can’t wait to read more of your poems & hear about your journey with Boots. Debbie you have a beautiful energy & calming presence one which I know the horses see & understand. Understanding Equus is so appropriate <3 xx

    • Debbie
      | Reply

      Thank you Fiona, although I’m not sure I’ve got many more poems like that in me!! I look forward to sharing the wonderful work you have done with ‘Boots’, in future posts…

  6. Debs
    | Reply

    This is just beautiful Debs, written from the heart with your love flowing through. Perfect. xx

  7. Stina
    | Reply

    You’re not just on a journey with horses, you are a philosopher. Great blog, thanks for sharing it on HC.
    Sunshine from St. Vincent

  8. Sue Francis
    | Reply

    I would love to receive your blog Debbie – please. I have only ever seen one of your demo’s, but I was deeply moved by it and the plight of the beautiful little riding school pony named Zanzibar who has and will remain forever in my thoughts.

  9. Sue Porter
    | Reply

    Congratulations on your first blog Debbie. I look forward to reading lots more about you and Boots xx

  10. debbie riley
    | Reply

    Debbie, what can I say, your poetry is beautiful….brought a tear to my eye too. Everything you observe and say mirrors what a lot of us feel and experience. You truly are a wonderful spiritual person who brings out the best in horses. Good luck with Boots. xx

    • admin
      | Reply

      Thank you Debbie, I look forward to catching up again next week and seeing your progress… 🙂 x

  11. Debbie Reilly
    | Reply

    Thank you all for your kind words and comments! I am working on the next post as we speak, so not long now… 🙂

  12. Peta Mason Gray
    | Reply

    Hi Debbie, I haven’t had as much contact with you as I would have liked, just two brief conversations but I realised then you were a very special person and reading your ( beautifully written blog tells me I was right. Looking forward to part 2 Huge hug Peta x

  13. Jackie
    | Reply

    Lovely imagery. I look forward to reading more of your thoughts about horses and life.

    • admin
      | Reply

      Thank you Jackie. I believe you can tick the box below these comments to be notified when the next blog is posted, although I can’t promise it will be so poetic!! In the meantime, please do check out the next 3 posts in this series… With thanks & best wishes, Debbie.

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