Facing fear in the roundpen

Daily Oats: Food for the horse lovers soul

About 20 years ago on my birthday in fact, on my calendar was a famous quote.  I tore it off the calendar and I still have it posted in my office.

“It is not length of life, but depth of life.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

I believe he was talking about a life with horses.  I know that the relationships that I have had with my horse as added an endless about of depth and with to my own life.

I know that over the years I have heard horror stories on how so many cowgirls have viewed their horses as saving their lives from  the horrors of their childhood.  When everyone around them was failing, their horse, their best friend, never left their side and never let them down.   Perhaps their stories have stayed with me so deeply all there own, because I have a similar story.

Many  times in my youngster days, have  I experience  intense loneliness in the belief that my  horse as the only one  in the world that not only loved me, but the only one that would ever  know me or understand me.

Is that how you fee as well?  How  would our own hearts have ever healed without them allowing us to share our lives together.   They  actually teach us how to love.  They begin to crack us open with unconditional love.

I know that I need to split my heart wide open to its fullest degree however, that takes courage.   Anytime that I find myself shutting  down and closed off  to my heart, I know it is because I am just too afraid.   I am afraid of some form of loss that creates the fear within me.  Fear is  the one common element behind every  human emotion.

It is a far simpler life and far less scary  to love a horse than to love another human being with the same openness and understanding.  As sad as that might be, it is astoundingly true.

I know that I close down fearing death.  Yesterday,  a family member told me they have cancer.  I have felt deep anger since and I know it is just fear raising its ugly head and  my ego telling me to flee.

I love training horses to overcome their fear.  The very first instinct of the horse is to flee,  and I know that same applies to me at this moment.  I have spent hours,  even days allowing them to have a  safer, happier and better  life by finding a way to let them face their fears head on.  I am thinking at this moment, how much time have I spent doing the same for me.

For today,  I will apply some more round pen training for myself.  I want the greatest width to my life as I possible can achieve.  I will stand in the round pen and face with an open heart all that comes.

Fear is part of life, but the greatest loss is not getting in the round pen to allow our hearts to face their greatest fear and learn to love completely.

I am going to head for the round pen,  so when  you hear an extremely  loud whinny today and it is not one of your horses, it is just me letting the world know that I totally ready to greet them with all my heart.

Won’t you  take a trip to the round pen with me ?


Boy I feel better, no wonder why a horse loves to whinny.  It simply feels good.

Daily Oats: Food for the Horse lover’s soul

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Love Roberta

Roberta Edstrom
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Published in: on January 7, 2010 at 4:12 pm  Comments (6)  
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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I broke 2 of my horses myself in my paddock. i put gates up in the corners to make a round pen. I loved every minute of it. Time worth spent for me and my horses. best time of my life raising my foal and my other horses.

  2. Thank you for a timely article today about opening one’s heart and not being afraid…

  3. I know you have heard thousands of “How a horse saved my life” stories… and i want to share mine…. I was an abused wife and mother for 7 years, and went into 3 other abusive relationships after my divorce…I was not around horses when i was in these relationships, the men refused to allow me to have or be around them, and i just didnt feel worthy of being around them… WELL, i got out of my last abusive relationship about 5 years ago and i rediscovered & reconnected with my love of horses…I began just visiting a local stable, and soon began training several horses there…. One thing EVERYONE always told me was i didn’t trust anyone very easily and being abused for 15 years out of the past 20 years, i had to admitt they were right… i was like a skittish horse, i didnt want anyone to touch me, get close to me, or love me…While working at our stable one of our sweetest borders rescued an abused horse and let me tell you, this poor thing refused to let ANYONE near him. He came to us DRUGGED in the horse van…I instantly felt a connection with this pour soul…While others in the barn talked to Mary of humainly putting him down, drugging him, or taking him to the auction houses, i just simply asked for permission from his new owner to work with him. There was just something in his eyes that begged me to connect with him, to reach out to him and not give up on him. It took me 3 weeks to even get him to approach me in the round pen and when he finally did, it was like a dam had burst inside of me, ALL the pain and fear i had inside of me came flooding out…I slowly wrapped my arms around his neck and cried, he just stood there allowing me to….He knew i needed that. He trusted me not to hurt him, when EVERY OTHER human he had came into contact with had hurt him in 1 way shape or form. It was then that i realised if this poor gentle soul could learn to trust again after people had hurt him so terribly, then WHY couldnt I? I began that day reaching out to my friends and telling them just how much i appreciated them, loved them and cherrished them. I put myself BACK on the dating market and told myself as SCARY as it was, i was not going to not trust myself and others. It has been 5 years since i worked with that horse, and in those 5 years i have flourished, found love and yes, TRUSTED again….I still fear getting hurt, i still fear loving someone and it not working out, but i fear being alone, scared and sad worse…I know that “Ramseys”, the abused little mustang whos trust and love i earned, would be very proud of the woman he helped me to get back to.

  4. I went with ya to the round pen Roberta! I have an ultrasound on Monday for 2 breast lumps….I want to run for the mountains but instead need to face up and handle what ever comes my way…in shaking boots. I was strong for my Dad over 2 decades ago when he had cancer and it took him at age 74, never knew I had it in me. I never cried in front of him, I held him as he wept, right up to the very end. As I repeat myself…I will go to the round pen w/you anytime! Love…Maggie J.

    • My dear Maggie. Just a not to let you know I have been in that same training with my beloved husband. He did not make it and now I am traveling the same road with my own daughter. I am here with you. You are in my prayers. The one thing that I remember no matter what happens is the fact that life is just an adventure and the way we travel is up to us. Happy or sad, no matter what, is still our choice. I have seem both kinds of horses in the round pen. They both will get to the same spot, only one is a lot more enjoyable then the other. Try to remember, that there is still a world of joy around you. Love Roberta

  5. Thank you for being so brave in sharing your story with us. I relate to and appreciate your experience.

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