it isn't about me






















I am a horse lover.

For as long as I can remember, horses have been the driving force behind every dream I have ever had. In the past nine years, I have been everything from beginner rider to competitor to a trainer's apprentice to stall-mucking extraordinaire...and love every second I spend with these animals as much as I did when I first started. I have been game to try most everything you can do with horses, but my interest has unwaveringly always been loyal to dressage.

Perhaps it is my naturally perfectionist nature that drove me to pursue dressage as a discipline as soon as I knew what it was. Dressage is all about the horse and rider working together to perform movements that involve an incredible amount of strength and fine-tuning on the part of both the horse and rider. Think of it like a combination of bodybuilding and yoga for horses.

I competed in my first ever dressage show after I had been riding for about six months. Since then, I've never stopped. Competitive dressage involves patterns(called “tests”) ridden through a series of levels, with each level adding more complicated sequences and movements that the horse and rider are expected to perform. But dressage is first and foremost an art and, done correctly, is beneficial to the longevity and well-being of the horse.

So, yeah. I used to be seriously competitively minded. I'm talking, “want to go the Olympics one day” kind of serious. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. But as I stepped into the horse industry more and more, I found myself being drawn in a different direction. One that had less to do with the mainstream idea of success in this industry and more to do with those who were left by the wayside in pursuit of it.


You see, the more horses I worked with, the more my heart got stuck on those who were never going to be “special” in the eyes of most. Sure, I've fallen completely head over heels for horses who have gone on to be superstars and win every competitive title available to them. The ones everybody roots for, the ones we all know are going to succeed.

But time and time again, I found my attachments landing on the horses that needed “just a little more time”. The ones who were too ugly, too crippled, too untalented, too sensitive and neurotic to ever be expected to win any sort of prize. The ones that, if human, would have a caption in the Senior Yearbook that said, “Most Likely To Fail.”

See, in the horse industry, a horse's value is directly linked to how useful it is. Horses who can't be used and ridden don't end up in good and safe homes...they end up at auctions and slaughterhouses. It's sad and it's a viewpoint that I don't agree with, but from a business perspective, understand why some would..but I guess I've never been great at being business savvy.

Which is why, no matter how many times I have tried to dodge it, pass the burden to someone else to take care of, I can't avoid the calling in my heart any longer.

I want to open an equine rescue.

Horses, mules, donkeys, hinnys...zebras?!..anything falling under the category of 'equine', I want to open my heart to it and do what I can to see it on to a forever home.

There is nothing wrong with competing. I love it. I still compete and I don't plan to stop. But somewhere along the line, I lost interest in pursuing a gold medal and decided I want to pursue smaller victories instead.

Taking on those who haven't been heard...and let them know I'm listening.

The gelding with his ears pinned back, who has bucked off rider after rider; the one called “bad tempered”...the one who is really only hoping someone will hear him say, “Please...my joints hurt.”

The mare who was turned out on 40 acres, who hasn't had a human touch her in nearly a decade, who finds herself between a rock and a hard place after her owner passes away..the one labeled “rogue”..the one with the wide eyes asking, “Am I safe with you?”

The horse who has been passed around from owner to owner for the past three years, the one with the “crazy” label, the one ready to battle it out when in an uncomfortable situation, the one just trying to explain, “Someone else's touch wasn't so kind.

Things like...

Small victories like watching a malnourished donkey gain weight.

Little 'wins' of a previously abused horse learning to trust again.

The prize of seeing a once unloved pony go home with a family.

The bittersweet ending of helping a forgotten, senior horse through his final days with as much love as possible.

Making my life a lot less about whether my name is known and more about whether the forgotten know they aren't truly forgotten..not by Him or me.

And if somehow I can merge this where both forgotten equines and forgotten people are made aware that they are loved...that there is freedom from oppression, depression, heartache, abuse, darkness...that there is hope...

That would be a dream come true.

I don't know. I envision grassy fields full of contented equines and a barn that somehow turned sanctuary for their lonely and exhausted human counterparts...someplace to open as home.  

For the longest time, I have been all about the “grind”...another success, another accomplishment, another -insert whatever-, desperately trying to prove that I have managed to make something of myself. And yeah, our personal successes can hold so much weight and testimony...but when it's all about me...well, that gets pretty exhausting.

So, when I realized my dream..my calling...my mission...wasn't about me, but about others..when I awakened to the idea that my hope didn't rest in what I could do..but what He could do through me...it's been liberating.

I don't know how yet...but I'm starting to learn that the “how” isn't my responsibility anyway. Just that I take steps of obedience wherever He may call me.

Aside from that, I would like to continue my writing career. I am currently working on a couple of different fiction projects and hoping to get back to posting on my personal blog soon. My main goal with my writing is to delve into the complexities of humanity and what it means in terms of hope, love, and connection with our Creator and the world around us. I guess I'm trying to put my overthinking and analytical nature to good use.

Whatever path God puts my feet on, I know it will be a good one.

It isn't about me!!...and that is the most awesome thing I can think of.

And while I wait for direction, I'll keep singing this over myself...

Spirit, lead me where my trust is without borders..let me walk upon the waters, wherever You would call me..take me deeper than my feet could ever wander..and my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Savior..


-ashlyn 

10 comments:

  1. Wow. THIS. You brought the fire. So much passion. <3

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  2. THIS. WOW. you had me all teared up Ashlyn. <3 i love your dream :)

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  3. NICE NICE NICE NICE!!!! I love it! :')

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  4. This is honestly the coolest thing, Ashlyn <3

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  5. Woww! I love your dream. <3 It's beautiful.

    Hanne
    rockandminerals4him.wordpress.com

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