At the start of my last clinic, I asked all the women in the room how many women in their maternal line had complete decision-making power over their own lives.
I, too, answered that question.
I am the first, I told them- the first as far back as I am able to trace of women in my family- who has had total autonomy about where it is I invest my time and what I want to do with it.
The first to have their own business that runs independent of and completely separate to any man’s involvement.
The first to own a horse, property and have only my name on the ownership certificates.
When I think about that, it blows my mind.
No doubt many more brilliant women have arrived before me. It isn’t to do with brains.
No doubt many more fierce than I have showed up. It’s not to do with courage.
No doubt many more ambitious than me have also been here. It’s not to do with vision.
It’s simply to do with timing.
Over the weekend, I felt the deep shadow of grief fall over me for a woman I have never met and who never knew my name. And yet all of the above, both largely and in part I owe to her.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a lionheart, and the reason that I can stand up and say I am the first.
You might ask, what has this got to do with horses and mindset and the nervous system? Why am I here on your page reading about the death of a Supreme Court Justice who lives in a country far away from you?
Well, let me tell you. My work, for reasons still unclear to me, attracts mainly women. Over the course of my career in this specific area, which is coming up to 10 years now, I have worked with a total of 3 men in comparison to countless women. I will speak for those women from the perspective of myself and say that without exception they are brave and gritty and talented and skilled and full of all the good stuff.
Our horses give us the training ground to come as we are. They are the permission slips to look deeper into ourselves in a way that doesn’t have the same stigma or pre-conceived associations that therapy or self-development work might have without them.
These same women nurse a level of self-doubt that is often inhibitory. They sit with a degree of not-good-enough-ness that rises to the surface when they think about engaging in something that is important to them. They dance a series of relationship dynamics both personally and professionally that have them swing between feeling that maybe they are not enough and maybe they are too much.
I know because I am one of them.
The women of this moment hold a tension in their body that is the dance between the old and the new.
We are the first.
We have no role models before us from which to draw on.
In our corner of the world, horses are our training ground. They are our reminder of power, strength and beauty and a call to connect to our own.
They are literally and metaphorically carrying us out of the old ideas of what it means to be a woman and letting us create a new paradigm for it. One that sees us hold the energy of what is possible while we chip away at the systems and structures that try to deny it.
So when I’m asked, how does politics, how does the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg relate to your work, this is my answer.
It relates because every person I work with has been hoisted onto the mounting block of possibility by what she fought for. And it’s because of her that I can say, I am the first. And because of her that I can also say, I will not be the last.