This month we honor the mothering dynamic in our world, a primary force driving Riding Beyond’s work: helping to mother people back to vibrant well-being, attending to the challenges of the pandemic and other stresses like breast cancer treatment, fire ravages, and global unrest.
HOW THEY CLAIM THEIR NAMES
Mystic Moon was given her name at birth, and when she arrived here as a five year-old in 2005, was a feisty, willful mare with raging hormones that earned her the status of “dominatrix” of the barn. Over the ensuing years as she was given “voice” and “choice” in her interactions with humans who gave her opportunities to also “listen” and “collaborate” – always a friendly and affectionate horse, but real bossy – her extraordinary talents for healing emerged in the first days of Riding Beyond when she was 12 years old. As her name “Mystic” connotes, she evokes a spiritual, heart-opening connection to a larger reality in those who interact with her, often evoking tears for those who experience her remarkable compassion that shines through loud and clear. “Moon” describes the roundish white marking on her forehead, but more deeply, identifies her with the profoundly nurturing mother-principle that she offers in many interactions. Her liquid eye, and her remarkably meaningful gestures that say “I see you, and I embrace you.” as people open their hearts to her, have been life-changing to many, many people over the past 10 years.
Agape Journey arrived in Oregon as a gangly two year old horse intended for work with the at-risk teens in therapeutic riding programs. As a young horse he would swing his head, constantly distracted by one thing and another in the rich world around him, often stumbling over rocks, even falling down, because his attention was often elsewhere. Underneath all that, though, a calm emerged as one who pays attention to the bigger picture. He carries his rider in steady, gaited comfort on journeys through the forested mountains of southern Oregon. He insists on leading a group of riders for a half hour or so, then stops and looks back, calmly insisting on another horse taking the lead for a while, then later reasserting his desire to take the lead again, clearly concerned with taking care of everyone. As he joined the Riding Beyond venture, and we became increasingly grounded in the fundamental importance of anchoring any deep change in one’s life by attending to aspects of the heart center, he has come to hold that love which is all-giving in service to others, the highest form of unconditional love: agape. He often appeals to Riding Beyond’s participants for the powerful presence that he projects, as he increasingly lives into his name Agape Journey.
Abby joined the Riding Beyond program when she would repeatedly stroll over to the round pen where we were gathered, from her vantage point in the pasture with the rest of her herdmates. She would leave them behind and stroll over in perfect rhythm to the music that we were all walking in rhythm to. She clearly was joining our herd. As a mustang brought in from the wild herds at three years of age many years before, she quickly developed into a trail horse sharing a Zen-like calm presence. She offers to Riding Beyond participants a similar feeling-state as they stand or walk with her. She invites them to enter into a sanctuary of sorts, an abby, where people can reconnect to a deeper place within themselves, a place that is holy, peaceful and golden, like her color, a treasure to reclaim and revel in.