• vslachman

All that Not Knowing . . .

Updated: Jun 17, 2019



The truth is, I'm feeling something uncomfortably familiar . . . an “I have no idea what I’m doing” feeling. This usually comes before periods of growth for me, or a radical change in direction. I know this from past experience, but it doesn't make the bouts with darkness any easier.


Lots of folks these days are speaking about how horses bring us to our authentic selves. That’s especially true for women, it’s said. In many areas of thought, the "feminine" yields, values intuition, collaboration and partnership, compassion, emotion. How hard it was for me to write that last word—“emotion—speaks volumes about how little I’ve allowed myself to enter that sort of space in myself.


Trust, I've learned, is a key to finding a way forward.

I’ve been a professor for over a quarter of a century, always in charge, always the intellectual, always responsible, always taking the lead.


I came to horses late in life, so I didn’t know a lot. I didn’t know much, in fact, when I started. I worked at Renaissance Rescue Ranch, a Thoroughbred rescue, for a quite a few years and learned a ton by handling ex-racehorses who had just come off the track. They were hot, sometimes explosively hot.


Looking back, it’s a wonder I wasn’t seriously injured given the trusting way I stepped into their care and training without any real knowledge at all. I jumped on the backs of many horses I probably shouldn’t have, but only got bucked off once—and that was totally my fault for not reading Zack’s clear signs—do not get on my back! He once wheeled at kicked at my head, missing it by about 3 inches.


Zack. Pretty big boy!

But . . . I didn't’ know how much I didn’t know.


Trust, I've learned, is a key to finding a way forward. There are lots of things people trust in--science, God, other people . . . Trust and yielding are key, though--two characteristics I'm not so good at.


The Bible tells us "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths" (Prov. 3:5-6). I've worked at this for years. And in each struggle that comes before a breakthrough, there's always a way forward offered.

Renaissance Rescue Ranch, Farmington, MO

Which is how Dorian came into my life. You can see that story in D&Me.


And once he did, I began my journey into all this uncomfortable not knowing. Up until recently, I kicked back against the unknown just as strongly as Zack had gone for my head.


I now realize that the time Dorian and I spent together this past month was an emblem for the past years we’ve been together. Him trying to teach me to just “be" and me thinking we always had to achieve “something.”


I’m so clumsy at being quiet. And those momentary flashes of being present in the moment are so few and far between, it’s a wonder Dorian puts up with me.



I think it’s my mental clutter that makes those rides with Dorian in the woods and fields on our own so precious to me. Those are times I allow myself to let go and be present in the moment, feel his settled spirit surround me.


I think he’s trying to bring me to a place in myself that’s not ancient or mysterious, but one that’s primitive. That’s a word that has some negative connotations, but it’s definition includes “original—not derivative,” “primary, ”elemental,” “natural.”


In a word . . . authentic.





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