I’ve been around horses since I was born to be honest, but my time started when I was 10 years old. But trust was a major part in growing up not just around horses but with people too. I have to admit I still have trust issues now aged 47! Which not only makes life difficult, but sometimes can make you stronger - well, I think so.
Anyway, having being brought up in a male household, your trust lies heavy on the elder men in your life. I knew that I could always turn to my Poppa, Grandfather and Uncles. But I used to question why not the women in the house - my Ma especially, as she was the woman that brought me into this world. For some reason, I looked to the men for reassurance more than the women in my life. Don’t get me wrong, these were strong Irish women that took no nonsense from the men! But, I still couldn’t do it.
As I got older my trust issues stayed with me. I was given Gypsy, my beautiful Irish Sports Horse whom I adored. A typical feisty mare, but I still wanted a stallion/gelding and my Poppa asked me several times, "why???". "Because I trust them more Poppa" was my answer.
As the years went on, I gained her trust until she died aged 20. This broke my heart. When it came to moving yards over the years, I knew I was going to have a battle with the trust issues again! In order for me to get over these issues, I tried to integrate myself into the yard life. I found it difficult at first to trust the girls but eventually I did. Yes, there were arguments, but we tried to resolve them as women did. I was then thinking "ok, this is ok...why am I worrying!".
I had all the encouragement in the world from the yard to start showing again but that niggling trust issue was still there. I did my first show and placed 3rd. When I got back to the yard all the girls congratulated me except one male livery. He said "what makes you better than me and my horses". I was shocked! I honestly trusted him and I was not expecting this reaction.
After this my trust issues changed. I began to trust the women more in my life. Again, I'm not saying that I don’t trust the men. Far from it. But the people encouraging me were the women and girls on the livery yard. I wasn’t the girl that I was before. I was building a trust with them and my two - yes two! - mares again and you know what?...It felt great!
I eventually got my own little sanctuary for me and the horses with a friend, Claire. For years I’ve only ever trusted my Poppa with my horses but I learnt to stop saying "I will ask my Poppa" and instead ask my friend to see to my horses in my absence. I truly believe that by being around women / mares, has made me trust my horses and myself in their hands again.
So gaining trust and building trust are two different things. You gain first then you build!