Welcome to the “ManeStream,” this fascinating place where horses and people live, work and play together in collaboration. I have been finding my way to this place most of the years of my life, guided by the four-leggeds who have ever been my friends, teachers and guides.

My path probably was determined when I was about six weeks old, the first time my mother had someone hand me up to her on her appaloosa stallion. She used to prop me in front of her while she trail rode along the country roads near our home (a choice she later admitted might not have been the safest!) I truly don’t remember a world without horses in it, without soft muzzles and quiet nickers and the peaceful sound of hay being methodically ground by enormous teeth. As a child, I tasted all the feed from the bins in the dusty wood-sided tackroom. I read about horses and played with toy horses and rode a million miles pretending the propane tank was my trusty steed.

My first pony, a medium-sized Welsh named Tar Baby.

My first pony, a medium-sized Welsh named Tar Baby.

When I was about three, my parents woke me in the wee hours of the morning and carried me out to the barn in my footy pajamas to watch one of our mares foal. At four I had my first pony, who taught me to sit tight and steer a big spiral the day a bee bit her backside and she took off at what felt like top speed. Maybe I never really left that spiral; perhaps the horse gods pulled me in and claimed me that day.

Having horses in my life grounded me for the challenges of an unpredictable home life and protected me as I maneuvered the terrain of school and friends and choices. No matter what, I always had someone to share my troubles, a soft neck to sob into, a collaborator when I just wanted to run far and fast. Their silence has always expressed more eloquence than any poet or songwriter. In their eyes lived patience and kindness, never judgement or censure – even when my actions surely deserved both.

I never intended to make horses my livelihood, but instead to have them as an adored avocation. But wherever else the path led proved only temporary, a place to gather some skills and knowledge to bring back to the center, to the horses. I never could have imagined where I have come to, this place that’s decidedly not in the mainstream where I started out, a quiet, conservative country girl. This place where the horses speak and teach and beseech while I try to understand and interpret and express their clarity, their essential presence. An energy propels me now, a force that’s in me and of me. A current at once sustaining, yet also inescapable. This is the ManeStream.