Welcome to Dream Horse Women!

What is it about women and horses? Dream Horse Women is dedicated to exploring this question and the special relationship between women and horses. Women are starting to go public in a big way about the importance of horses to their soul life. Since the beginning of this millennium, there has been a veritable explosion of books on the subject of women and horses (see below). Authors like Linda Kohanov (2001, 2003) and Soren (2002) write of a mystical connection that exists between women and horses. Midkiff (2002) and Pierson (2000) chronicle the fierce horse love that follows pre-pubescent girls throughout their lives and helps shape all their subsequent relationships. Cultural historian Diane Ackerman[1] even suggests that “horse love” is a natural stage in a pre-adolescent girl’s development which allows for safe exploration of emerging sexuality.

Not Just for Cowboys Anymore: Girls and women are increasingly dominating the equestrian sports and recreational use of horses, a radical cultural shift from just fifty years ago. As Midkiff notes, “Riding is increasingly being defined by the female element—she is the predominant participant, dollar spender and decision maker in sporting, showing and recreational activities in the horse industry.[2]” She further notes that 75% of members of non-racing horse-related associations are women, and that an estimated 500,000 American women enjoy horses for sport and leisure.   

Under the Radar of Conventional Psychology: Where has psychology weighed in on the relationship between women and horses? Although it is no secret to thousands of women how important horses are to their psychological wellbeing, psychology has been remarkably mute on the topic. One notable exception is the mention of horses as an important feature in women’s dreams by some depth psychologists. Even as horses are being increasingly recognized as potent allies in healing through equine assisted psychotherapy, there has been virtually no serious study of the psychology of women and horses. Dream Horse Women will help fill this gap through future articles and postings. Thanks for joining us.

Recent Books about Women and Horses:

Kohanov, Linda. (2001). The tao of equus: A woman’s journey of healing and transformation through the way of the horse. Novato, CA:
New World Library.

Kohanov, Linda. (2003) Riding between the worlds: Expanding our potential through the way of the horse. Novato, CA:
New World Library.

Midkiff, Mary. (2002) She flies without wings: How horses touch a women’s soul.
New York: Dell.

Pierson, Melissa. (2000). Dark horses and black beauties: Animals, women, a passion.
New York: W.W. Norton.

Pony Boy, GaWaNi. (2000). Of women and horses: Essays by various horsewomen.
Irvine, CA: Bow Tie Press.

Soren, Ingrid. (2002) Zen and horses: Lessons from a year of riding. New York:
St. Martin’s Press.

[1] Ackerman, D. (1994) A natural history of love.
New York: Random House.

[2] Midkiff, M. http://www.womenandhorses.com/whats-it-all-about.html.  


6 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Pamela Emmanuelle Hinrichs said,

    I was 10 years old when my first colt was born. His name was Contino and he changed my entire world. I am now 55 years old, and horses have been a major part of my life. My ex-husband and I had another horse, a Swedish Warmblood, named Siddhartha for approximately 15 years. Siddhartha was born in April of 1988. Contino and I had a very tragic ending when I was 15 years old, so traumatic that I never really recovered. Since 15 I have experienced many other traumas. My ex-husband was a Viet Nam veteran…traumas untold. I was in an automobile accident in 1995, and chose not to drive a car for 7 years. Beacuse of traumas and various challenges in the marriage, my husband would have me placed in mental institutions, where suffering is intolarable. In and out of instutions, and not driving a car, I practically lived in the pasture with Siddhartha for 4 years. I became very telepathic and intuitive, very close to God/Goddess and in touch with my innermost being. One day after about 2 years in the pasture with Siddhartha (name meaning before one becomes Buddha) He told me he was “Contino come back to me”. Couldn’t believe my thoughts, and I was sure no one would believe me since I had been labeled “Mentally ill”. Well, since that time Siddhartha was kicked in the knee on Christmas Eve and had to be put to sleep, my dog Ginger had to be put down, my husband divorced me and my Father died. Left my home of 20 years….but I had a little rescued miniature Horse, pinto, blue-eyed “His Holy Ponieness” “PONEE” for short, and his faith and love has carried me through these losses and I have successfully buillt a new life in Northern California with Ponee, and his pasture mate, “Spirit” another mini. I am living proof that horses carry women on their journeys. I have met so many women during my life where horses have loved their mistresses and have seen them through so many stages and ages of their lives. I don’t really know what lies ahead, but I am sure that horses will always be a big part of who I am.

  2. 2

    Holly Gregory said,

    Loved reading this. I know God will carry you through this season of the soul. Enjoy now for this moment will never come again except in your memory~Dreams…

  3. 3

    Pamela Emmanuelle Hinrichs said,

    I just read Catherine’s information on Epona. Fascinating! While I spent 4 years in the pasture with Siddhartha, my Swedish Warmblood gelding during 1998 through 2002, I became very telepathic…not just with Siddhartha, but with hawks, turkey vultures, quail, robins, meadowlarks, hummingbirds, does, fawns, bucks, rabbits, foxes, dogs, cats, cows, bulls, goats, chickens, etc.

    Because I was seldom around humans, it was safe to become telepathic and extremely intuitive. For four years, I was up about before sunrise, and up all day with “my” animals until dark. Each animal told me about his or her self. I would watch the cycle of birth, life, old age, finally death…Once, one of “my” bucks was laying right near my garage about 9:00 a.m….huge rack of antlers. I felt so blessed having him there. About half hour later, he was still there, only I knew he had come to die there. By about 10:00 two does came up from the other side of the back pasture, walking so gracefully and dignified. They both paused and gazed at the “King of the forest”. They passed by, saying their last goodbyes.

    Another half hour went by and a small fawn came bouncing from the other side..stopped suddenly, saw the “king” paused for five minutes, then bounded off. The Buck died about noon, peacefully. My husband dragged his body out to the front of the property where the turkey vultures consumed the carcass. The first four days, they circled…the next two weeks they feasted. Third week, they finished up. Then I got close and noticed bees, ants and other insects feeding. Bones picked clean. Dogs or coyotes took the bones off. After five weeks, absolutely nothing was left. About two months later a turkey vulture was sitting on a post about 12 feet away from me. I gazed at him and spoke to him. I told him how beautiful I thought he was. He looked at me. I told him how misunderstood I thought he was and how sad that was. He started preening, very gracefully, acknowledged my love and gratitude for him and his kind. I told him his job was very important to the cycle of birth, life and death, and rebirth..again he thanked me.This is just one of many instances I have had communicating with many, many animals.

    Back to Siddhartha, the horse I belonged to…Sid and I were like one…Centaur. I wrote a short story once about how a child dreamed about a horse and she longed to be with that “Spirit horse”. But she knew she would have to wait for the “Spirit Horse” to DREAM HER in his dream. She waited. Soon, he dreamed her into his dream…they became one..They became Centaur. Centaur, this Child/woman and this Horse had many dreams, and created many worlds in their dreams. Finally, after creating many worlds with animals trees, plants, oceans lakes rivers, etc. …they wanted to have children. So…Welcome to our dream!! It was a fantasy story…or was it? Did a horse/woman/goddess, centaur create the world? We are living on the “Planet of the Horses”. A woman speaks of the “horse ancestors”.

    It is my belief that thousands of women today lived previous lives with their “Spirit horses” and we continue to live life after life….you know the after-life…with our horses. I believe we are in “Paradise” or “Heaven”during the times between our lifetimes on Earth, and we keep on coming back with the same “Soul…Spirit Horse”

    I have experienced the spiritual connection personally, with my horses, and am now noticing there are hundreds of ranch/schools/therapy programs with horses as healers..helping youngsters, teens, 20’s, 30’s, 40’s 50’s, etc. men and women heal from traumas.

    Every day, my day begins at 6:30 a.m. with His Holy Ponieness ‘Ponee’ and Spirit, my two miniature horses, and I see them 3 and 4 times every day. They are my life bood, my spirit, my loves, my passion, my everything…best friends I ever had. Thank you, Catherine for creating DREAMHORSEWOMEN for all of us ladies to communicate.

  4. 4

    1horsedreamer said,

    Dear Pamela–Your posting is so rich, with too many things for me to comment about all at once! You touch on the amazing connections between humans and animals that are indeed both psychic and spiritual.

    Your experiences out in the pasture allowed you to listen in deeply into that universal language and rhythm which is so different from our hustle-bustle culture.

    How lovely to have been there to witness and support the magnificent buck in his death, and the communion you had with the turkey vulture. On the scientific side, we know that horses’ brains operate at a slower level than the normal brain activity of a westerner, in what we call an alpha state. We are in alpha state when we are meditating and being creative, and time seems to stand still. I think that just being around horses impacts those of us that are open to it to drop into a similar intuitive state. What do you think? Catherine

  5. 5

    Pamela Emmanuelle Hinrichs said,

    Sweet Catherine,
    Thank you for your insightful comments about telepathy/love with animals. I don’t know science very well (frankly, it scares me) and I really don’t know much about alpha waves.

    What I have experienced with all of “my” animals, both wild and domestic is:
    1. They never lie or judge.
    2. They live in the present moment.
    3. They will only hurt you if they are protecting themselves, or if they are predators, they will protect their territory, young, food or mate.

    They are all-accepting of their self, what type of animal they are, their circumstances, their surroundings. Animals, such as horses, dogs, cats, birds, etc. who have been domesticated have had to alter their lifestyle and behavior to fit in with their human protector.

    We feed them according to OUR schedule, probably not theirs…we clean their dog house, stall, paddock, litterbox, bird cage, etc….according to OUR convenience. We “own” them for OUR convenience. That puppy makes us feel good about ourself; that horse we “own” helps us to feel healed, courageous, free, needed, etc. That cat sits on our lap and purrs, and WE feel good. That canary sings (because he is alone and needs a mate) and we love his song.

    Come on people…wake up! Try staying for just 4 hours in your horse’s stall, drink that dirty water, stand in your waste, wait for feeding time, only twice a day (horses walk and graze for up to 18 hours a day). You can’t get out and watch TV, or go for a walk…Then your mistress or master comes for your exercise time.

    In the arena, halter and longe line, whip, now run around in circles for 30 minutes…all the horse gets is dizzy and frustrated…and when the horse gets frustrated he or she gets a whipping for expressing himself and is told he is “bad”!!

    We take these beautiful, noble, dignified, sacred, compassionate, joyful, loving animals and make them submit to our will. I find it tragic what some people have done to God’s creatures…yet they are so patient with us…so forgiving..so respectful of what our needs are. The sacrifices thay have made are heroic.

    I am humbled by Mother Nature’s creatures. May I have the grace about me to always listen to them…their hearts, their souls, spirits, and minds, and keep trying to make it a better world for them.

    I am actually trying to bring peace to the world through HORSES…guess what folks? IT’S WORKING!!BLESS YOU, Catherine Anne Held, PhD!

  6. 6

    Holly Gregory said,

    Horses are God’s noblest creatures. They are rich in soul, strength and emotion,…and for centuries have been used by man.

    To me they represent freedom in their ability to run with amazing grace through all sorts of lifes hardships and struggles. Strength is their most commonly known gift, that too many take for granted. But what I desire more than these virtues is their Willl~their strong determination to keep on surviving no matter what life throws or demands of them. And like a few other noble creatures, (like a dog) they have the ability to forgive…

    To forgive man for his cruelty and negligence is to heal their emotional heart~ wounds in order to fully restore trust! But the joy in that reality is it’s possible!~ through hope and compassion.

    Consistency is the key to regaining trust! And love envelops every wound of any species, including man and horses. My hope is more people realize the magnificent beauty in horses and the deep love and honor they are capable of possessing. Truly they are my passion and my encouragment to keep on fighting for the freedom to love with dignity.

    Blessed to know you both,
    Holly Gregory@bluehorsejewelry@yahoo.com

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