National storytelling month
It is National storytelling month so over the coming weeks, I will share stories about each of my five horses.
Kalle was my first horse and knowing nothing about horses, I had no idea what I was looking for in a horse. I chose her because she made an instant connection with me and I thought that if she could do that with me, she would do it with other people too.
I am often contacted to take on a horse who can no longer be ridden and who is about to be put to sleep if a home is not found. I am unable to respond to all the requests and I have chosen my team very carefully.
The following true story is an extract from my book Leading through uncertainty and describes my first meeting with Kalle.
“That’s a lot of horse!” I thought.
That was an understatement. Kalle was majestic. I watched her gallop up and down the arena. With her mane and tail flying behind her and her head held high, she snorted loudly as she charged from one end to the other. It was clear that she was strong, powerful and opinionated. I knew nothing about horses, but she certainly didn’t look like a horse who was suitable for a novice such as me.
I had no reference point for this moment. I had only recently overcome my fear of horses. My previous experience had included 6 months riding at the age of 9 and three serious accidents around horses as an adult, one whilst I was riding and two others on the ground. I wrote about these more extensively in my book Leadership Beyond Measureso I won’t go into them here. What I will say is that I was a novice, and I knew very little about horses. The only thing that was certain was that I was here to look at a horse to work with me.
Despite Kalle charging up and down at an alarming rate, I walked calmly into the arena and stood in the middle. Having only overcome my fear of horses 6 months earlier, it seemed a brave thing to do. I’m not sure why I did it, but I followed my instincts and stepped into the arena of uncertainty. I felt as though my heart would stop, and I breathed deeply.
As soon as I walked in, Kalle came to a stop at the other end of the arena. I stayed calm, breathing consciously and grounding myself. She walked over to me and stood by my right shoulder. She looked at me deep in the eye, and I felt the soul to soul connection that she creates so magically. I gulped and felt my eyes well up with tears. I was moved by the power and gentleness of her spirit. I walked forward, and Kalle came with me. I stopped, and she stopped with me. I paused, trying to breathe.
I moved again, turning left and right, stopping and starting. Kalle matched me step for step. When I moved, she came. When I stopped, she did too. The connection felt so deep, yet I had no idea what I was doing. I had virtually no experience around horses. I had stepped right out of my depth and dived head first into the deep end of uncertainty.
Making powerful decisions
I was completely unskilled in looking after a horse. I was uncertain if she was suitable or if I could handle her. I could feel the power of her palpating beside me, and my heart was pounding. She was choosing to follow me as a leader, even though I had no idea what I was doing. I have received no greater acknowledgement of my leadership than in that moment. Kalle chose to follow with complete free will. It was and continues to be a deeply moving experience.
I went back to the gate to talk to her owner Julie. Kalle was loose, but she stayed by my side as I went. I said to Julie: “She’s so responsive. She’s the kind of horse I could really connect with.” At that moment, Kalle turned, looked me in the eye, and she nodded. My heart lurched, and I swallowed hard.
I was chosen.
What I learned from meeting Kalle
My first meeting with Kalle taught me to follow my intuition, to act with courage and confidence in uncertainty, to be decisive and clearin the unknown, to be open to connection in the most unlikely situation, to be powerful and strong in my vulnerability and to consider things carefully when I am not sure.
Choosing to work with Kalle was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life. Or did she choose me? I’m not sure but ultiamtely I made the decision to say yes to bringing her home. We’ve both never looked back.
If this story has inspired you,
contact me on 07584 248822 to discuss how I can help you
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