Thu, Jan. 23

A horse lesson: Get what you want and don't settle for less

Horses are teachers for me. They have an uncanny way of reflecting back to me just what I need to learn about myself.

The last couple of times I've ridden her, Jasilla had been acting strangely. When I asked her to trot, she would give a little resistant buck, then go immediately into a canter. I knew she had some muscle and pain issues. That doesn't necessarily mean that you can't work a horse; sometimes they improve with a little work if you don't push them too hard.

I wasn't pushing Jasilla, though. I let her have her way - no trot, and a little bit of cantering instead, with that troublesome buck thrown in.

Last week, as I once again encountered the resistant bucking and the refusal to trot, one of the trainers at Future Hope Equestrian said, "Let Christa get on her. Let's see what she does with a more aggressive rider."

I watched Christa carefully. Jasilla did her typical bucking when Christa asked for the trot, then she resisted further by trying to canter instead. Christa gave her a couple of healthy kicks in the side and yelled, "Now cut that out!" With persistence and assertiveness, within about 30 seconds Jasilla was trotting smoothly around the arena!

At that point, a lot of realizations dawned on me. Jasilla had my number! She knew she could get away with something with me, and she did. I had let her do so.

I began to reflect on assertiveness, since Jasilla had reflected to me my lack of it. I had not persisted in asking Jasilla for what I wanted. "How often do I settle for less in other areas of my life?" I asked myself. "How often do I fail to put my desires out there where they have the chance to be fulfilled?"

Aren't we women brought up to settle for less? We're taught to believe that we shouldn't ask. No wonder we don't receive what we want! Like I feared hurting Jasilla if I asked assertively for the trot, we often fear that the fulfillment of our needs or wants means that someone else will have less or will be hurt. So we don't ask.

In reality, what you want may not only serve you, it may serve the other as well. As Christa firmly let Jasilla know what she expected, Jasilla moved smoothly forward. The implication for you: speaking your truth assertively will move you (and others) forward in personal growth.

What occurs in your outer world mirrors what goes on in your inner world. In the same way that Jasilla's actions mirrored to me my issues with assertiveness, so too can your outer events and situations inform you about areas to address in your inner life.

I encourage you to pay attention . . . if you want to open and blossom!

To contact Dr. Marta, call 928-451-9482 or e-mail To schedule your own horse lesson, call Ann or Danielle at Future Hope Equestrian: 928-301-7588.

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