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Words Carmel Rowley


Lately, I’ve had my Arabian mares on my mind – sometimes words fail me to describe how important they are and were in my life. There was an understanding between us and they constantly amazed me when they simply accepted all my reactions to a busy life. In fact they were almost mother-like as their gentle attitude helped to sooth away my day to day stresses.
When I walked the mares up the hill to the barn every night, one either side of me, our bodies felt connected by more than the lead ropes. My mares were definitely the catalyst that helped me focus internally and not simply externally.


I first read about internal focus in a book titled It’s not about the Horse – It’s about Overcoming Fear and Self-Doubt by Wyatt Webb and Cindy Pearlman and that led me to find others as I became interested in learning how horses can assist humans to heal. My mares became a central part of this internal focus especially during the time when my life was full of varied emotions, feelings, and a drained exhaustion.
At the times when I was alone with my mares they assisted me to feel happy despite being cross or having a bad day. I learned later your internal self actually determines whether we’re having a good day or not, whether we’re happy or unhappy. Even later I learned that thoughts turned internally can help to soothe anxiety and increase well-being.


The thing is – most of our attention is external, work, the phone, friends, or dealing with family stresses, so we don’t pay as much attention to our internal thoughts as we should. We often only tune into our internal connection when we feel sad, or the warmth of love. But it was my connection to my mares and being around them during the evening each day that I found I could concentrate on my internal feelings. The mares made me smile, feel gratitude and of course love.


I probably don’t need to remind you, but I will anyway, that it’s not just horses that can help one focus internally. In fact the RSPCA reports that research has shown owning a pet can have a number of physical health benefits.
Increased cardiovascular health: Lower blood pressure, lower triglycerides and in men, lower cholesterol.
Increased physical activity: Dogs especially help us get out and enjoy the outdoors while getting some regular exercise. They are great motivators and personal trainers, never wanting to miss a training session no matter the weather.
Fewer visits to the doctor: Growing up with a dog (and other pets to a lesser extent) during infancy may help to strengthen the immune system and may reduce the risk of allergies
Children who have pets are less likely to miss days of school due to illness
All my animals reinforced my purpose in life they and widened the circle of our love ever enlarging the loving ways in which pets open our hearts and enhance our lives.


The three older mares I’m talking about are Sarah, Sima and Shaina all are gone now though I still have Sorsha who is certainly a kindred spirit. But the whole experience has been on my mind over these last weeks because the book I’m drafting at present has one of my characters (Stella) who purchases an Arabian mare on a whim. This creates a major change within  Stella’s life as she arrives at a deeper understanding of life’s lessons and how the first step to healing is connecting internally with her mare.

Carmel and Mares_DSC9140
Everyone who owns and loves animals most certainly understands how deserving they all are of our respect and compassion. I think most of us can do with a little more self-esteem, fewer feelings of loneliness, the incentive to become more physically fit and socially outgoing, you know that face to face business called conversation. I know when Don carries Roger around when I’m off shopping people  approach him all the time to pat Roger and chat about their own pets. So maybe it’s time to go out and give your animals a big thank you hug.

Photographs Gregory Egan and Carmel Rowley

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