Identity and the Equestrian
by Catherine Madera
Who am I? This is a basic question human beings struggle with at their core. Though it is perhaps acted out most obviously in adolescence, uncertainty about identity can follow a person into old age. As a spiritual person, I believe this is deeply spiritual question, with spiritual origins. However, even on the surface the things that define us—our activities, our passions, our “labels”—are essential to how successfully we navigate life. This issue is all about the equine lifestyle, including the ways equestrians might vacation. Though horse related holidays are awesome, for me just going to the barn is a mini getaway.
As a youth, horses were my One True Thing. Though I had a solid family and received love from my parents, I was a sensitive and awkward child who never felt like I fit in with my peers. Most comfortable with animals or a good book, my horse was a primary source of identity and accomplishment during a vulnerable time. To this day, when I need a relief from challenges, distractions and disappointments I retreat to the horses for grounding and perspective. Horses are part of what makes me me; they help me connect, and reconnect, to life in basic ways.
Even when my travels are not centered on horses, I find myself looking for them. Most recently this was in Kauai where my friend Kelly and I had a terrific trail ride courtesy of CJM Country Stables located in Koloa. Not much can top riding a good horse, with good friends, in a gorgeous place.
Are your horses a big part of who you are? If so, how have they shaped you as a person? I’d love to know; email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Lastly, enjoy this issue. If you’re shopping for a mate for your mare this spring, consider our beautiful cover model Command Bux, owned by Mark and Karen Plumlee.
Ride on in 2016!
Catherine Madera served as editor of the Northwest Horse Source for five years. She has written for numerous regional and national publications and is a contributing writer for Guideposts Magazine and the author of four equine-related books. She has two grown children and lives with her husband and three horses in Northwest Washington.