Full Circle: A Sense of Belonging

by RSE Guest Blogger: Samantha King

I am awkward and sometimes weird in social settings.  I have always been this way, never feeling like I fit in anywhere, with any particular group.  This is rarely uncomfortable for me, but I find it is uncomfortable for others.  This is where horses come in. 

Katie at 11 years old sharing a special moment with her horse Tinker - Red Scarf Equestrian LifestyleFrom a very early age, I was drawn to horses.  Two early incidents come to mind. First, I told the Nuns at the nursery school I attended at a convent that I had a baby brother and a pony in our back garden (neither brother or pony existed in the physical realm). Second, I told my nursery school mates that I was a horse, they of course disputed that statement, so to prove it I got down on all fours and ate grass to convince them that indeed I was a horse.

In later years, I would ride my bicycle around our neighbourhood practicing posting trot and the canter imagining that bicycle was my horse.  I even had dreams of riding my horse to school.  Perhaps I was born in the wrong era or was channeling a former version of myself.

"Any opportunity that I got to hang out with a horse I took. "

All of this seemed quite normal to me.  My parents did their best to afford a week or two of riding camp in the summers and that had to sate my desire for the rest of the year until the next summer.

Each moment at camp I looked for ways to be alone with the horses.  I didn’t want to be with the other kids who were noisy, didn’t know as much about horses as I did and, of course, thought I was odd.  Any opportunity that I got to hang out with a horse I took.  “Who wants to get Nugget out of the field?”  I was up and on my way to the field before anyone had a chance to answer.  I wouldn’t just get Nugget out of the field….I would pat and snuggle with any horse that came up to me on the way.  When I got to Nugget I would hug him, snuggle in his neck, take in his particular scent and talk to him about what an amazing boy he was and slowly we would make our way back to the boisterous camp.

"Whether on the ground or on their backs the silence and acceptance of horses was the gateway to the soul of each of us as we learned to work together peacefully." 

To my tween self being with horses was the only place I felt that I fit in.  There was no need for conversation as the communication was ethereal; no worries about acceptance as horses are herd animals and welcome anyone into their group.  Whether on the ground or on their backs the silence and acceptance of horses was the gateway to the soul of each of us as we learned to work together peacefully. 

Those of us who are around horses in any capacity have felt this.  It is almost impossible to describe to people who have not spent some amount of time with horses.  This feeling is what galvanized my passion for horses and led me to do whatever was needed to have a career in the equine industry.  This feeling is what helped me get through grief and depression.  This feeling is what allowed me to celebrate all of the great accomplishments I achieved over the years.

My daughter has felt this as well, from an early age.  This has ignited her passion for horses as well and given her a place where she fits in.  Full circle.

pictures: (top) Katie at 6 years old with Belle; (middle) Katie at 11 years old with Tinker


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Who is Samantha King?

Nadya Brown Riding Side Saddle - Red Scarf Equestrian CanadaI'm a Customer Relationship Manager at Food for Tots, Sometimes Riding Instructor at various stables in the GTA (whoever will have me) and a Single Mum of a Riding Daughter. Pack members include Rudy and Tucker.

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