Calling on Angels


Whimsical did not want to get into the horse trailer.

She wasn’t scared of it, she had just made up her mind that she was not getting in. And weighing in at well over 900 pounds, she had the power to make her preferences obvious and formidable.

Preferring cooperation over force, it took quite some time for my friend Virginia and I to help her change her mind. In the end, it came down to helping her recognize how cool and comfortable it would be in the trailer, and making her feel uncomfortable enough outside the trailer to take the leap of faith.

(It’s funny how this show up in coaching people too – I much prefer encouraging and supporting – creating discomfort is waaay outside my comfort zone –  but sometimes the most helpful thing you can do for a person is to get them to feel the discomfort, and recognize the cost, of staying stuck.)

By the time we did get Whimsy aboard the nice, cool trailer, the summer sun had risen high in the sky. This time of year, in the sparkling desert of southern Arizona, this means hundred degree heat, and higher. Gorgeous to look at, but unwise to linger in. Distracted by the strenuous project of getting Whimsy and Akasha home, I hadn’t drunk enough water. I started feeling woozy, and my legs started to shake.

Rather than push our luck, and possibly end up in trouble with heat stroke, we decided to leave Akasha in her familiar pasture, take Whimsy to her new home just a short drive away, cool off, get some water and food, and regroup. Not the best temporary solution, for several reasons, but the only one that seemed plausible at the time.

On the outside, I kept calm and breathing, but on the inside, my mind was flailing in the face of the challenge.

Have you ever had the thought, when faced with significant obstacles as you’re pursuing your dream – “why in the world did I decide to do this crazy thing in the first place?”

Well, as you can imagine, I started having those “what was I thinking” thoughts. Knowing they were toxic, and recognizing low-blood sugar talking, I did my best to practice self-compassion – compassion for all involved – after all, we were half way there, right? Hopefully? I tried to shift my thoughts to questions – instead of “this feels impossible,” “how is this going to be possible?”

I imagined walking Akasha home instead of trailering her, and got an image of spending two hours in the blazing heat – probably making it – but ending up in the hospital due to heat stroke. Nope. I imagined waiting until almost dark to load Akasha – but then, if it took a long time, I’d have to bring her home to a strange new pasture in the dark. How would she handle that? Probably not great. And then Whimsy would be alone for too long… If only I had had more time to trailer train them… What should we do?

“Angels, I need options,” I said silently to myself as we watched Whimsy settle happily in to her new space with some fresh hay and water. “If I’m going to do this, I need some support.”

Just then a car came slowly puttering down the country road toward us. It slowed even further when the driver spotted Whimsy, the new and exciting addition to our very secluded neighborhood.

“Ugh, what now!” was my first, not very enlightened thought.

An older woman stepped out, and introduced herself as my neighbor from up the road. “I have three horses of my own,” she explained. We filled her in on what we were doing, how we still needed to go back for Akasha, who – unlike Whimsy – was afraid of the trailer, and could pose even more of a challenge than the one we had just faced.

“You can borrow my trailer,” she kindly offered. “It has a ramp, and a door at the front, so the horses can see a way out when they step in. A friend of mine who adopted a wild mustang was able to use this trailer to bring him home, even though he was terrified of everything.”

Thank you, angels.

Thank you, neighbor. And thank you, everyone who helped!

Now a new chapter begins.

How do you handle toxic thoughts? What’s your favorite practice when you need help? Click to share your thoughts below this post.


Erin Menut, MA, E-RYT
Yoga, Jin Shin Jyutsu, Equine Facilitated Learning