Shillelagh...my heart and soul story
My heart and soul……….for many reasons
He isn’t just any horse. Shillelagh is my best friend - if you call your best friend someone who listens to you anytime...boy has he listened, and listened, and listened to me.
He came into my life shortly after my husband passed away 8 years ago. I had been praying for a new horse. Dynasty also had passed. He was near and dear to me and truly taught me how to ride. When I saw Shillelagh for the first time, I was taken aback at how much he resembled Dynasty – same color, sorrel with white markings. That made me happy!
Shillelagh is an Irish name. It means fighting stick...don’t identify with that but I love the way Shillelagh sounds. I would bury my head in this horse’s mane and just cry, telling him how sad I was. I thanked him over and over for listening and holding a space and place for me to feel my grief. He seemed to have a depth of presence that I didn’t experience anywhere else. Many in the herd would go away as I got going with my emotions, but he especially would always stay right beside me. It was as if whatever I was experiencing and feeling, he was in some way communicating that it was OKAY. Okay to feel so desolate, Okay to feel lost, Okay to be angry, Okay to be confused, Okay to be afraid. JUST OKAY TO BE RIGHT WHERE I WAS.
And every time I left him, for whatever length of time had passed, I felt better. Lighter. More peaceful. More accepting of the process. More accepting of my loss. Less fearful.
This beautiful horse has journeyed with me and stood by me. He isn’t scared or uncomfortable with my deep emotions, which kind of surprises me. I look into his kind eye and breathe a little deeper. Shillelagh has been my compassionate friend and healer in the sense that he allows me to express my many forms and stages of grief with no judgement, He has been my companion and my partner in this grief process. He taught me most about how to be present with someone expressing deep emotions, how to hold a space in my heart for them with a benevolent spirit.
He is a wonderful addition to the ranch with his working cow horse training and athleticism. Stable, secure, steady are some words I would describe him when under saddle, and the trust I have for him is such a gift – which really grew deep rootswhen my heart was broken into a million pieces. Slowly and surely I have healed and found happiness again, but a crucial role in the mending of my heart was my courageous Shillelagh. Although he’s not a rescue at Dove Creek, he has a big job of overseeing the whole operation – the coming and going of the horses through the rescue, and he brings a stable steady energy to everyone around him.
Please remember to give thanks for your horses that comfort you and stand by you, and say a little prayer for those that need our comfort.
Blessings on this beautiful Sunday