Please enjoy the following excerpt from “Legendary Hearts of Horses” by Adrienne Neary.
Ever since horses were domesticated, they’ve helped people shape the world with their unconditional love, talent, creativity, empathy and willingness.
Regardless of whether we consider a horse a celebrated super star, a backyard pony, or horses of the distant past, the transformational power of horses – physical or non-physical – is a magical and under appreciated gift.
Zenyatta, a celebrated Thoroughbred superstar born in 2004, had her time in the limelight, making it easy to illustrate the transformational horsepower she inspired. She achieved worldwide acclaim, without her real and profound message taking hold.
She was one among the countless and ever present transformational horse; from exalted, cherished, and elevated to unappreciated, lame or unwanted.
One may wonder, ‘how many of these messages are missed every single day?’ How can any message, whether it’s inspirational or devastating, convince us we need to make lasting alterations instead of being only temporarily effected? What’s stopping us from internalizing these important gifts that horses all over the world, and all over the course of Time have given to us?
Why are we so lazy about our potential and betterment through conscious, integrated evolution?
There are significant reasons we need to wake up and change. One of which involves the reduction and elimination of unnecessary harm and suffering; the creation of a new paradigm based on unconditional love, empathy, compassion, cooperation and unity.
Every single cell in our bodies was born into this original, wonderful paradigm, but our brains, our edited history and our programmed responses to earthly experiences convince us we need to be separate… that we need to appoint winners and losers, that we need to control through hostility and threat in order to achieve some peace… and yet, the humble, dignified, and solemnly proud horse persistently brings us back, reminding us of the good and timeless things, every single day…
Zenyatta, always. Regardless.
Something was wrong. Zenyatta, expressed reluctance at the starting gate for the 2009 Breeder’s Cup Classic at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California. She was experienced; knew what was expected of her, and had even raced there before, but, still, she temporarily balked, and then complied.
The reason for her odd behavior eluded everyone until, suddenly, another horse became dangerous.
Had she sensed his fear or fury? Horses are herd creatures; telepathic and empathetic. She undoubtedly felt the other horse’s distress before it erupted…
His unwillingness soon became clear to the rest of us as he fought unremittingly against his handlers. They tried to force him into the gate with a blindfold, but still, he refused.
It took an unreasonable amount of time. The other horses were removed from their padded chutes, in hopes of resetting the starting conditions for this prestigious international event. Five million dollars was at stake for humans.
Something else was at stake for Zenyatta.
The disruptive horse was scratched from the event, and race track employees reloaded the horses into the starting gate once again.
The bell rang, the doors opened, and all of the horses sprung like tightly wound coils, except one. Zenyatta spilled out of her post position like a drunken sailor flinging himself from a bar room door. She seemed clumsy and confused; not at all the focused pro we were used to seeing.
It took her an eighth of a mile to wipe the bizarre circumstances from her mind. Meanwhile, the pack had left her. She was impossibly and undeniably way too far behind the leaders to be a contender, but still, she responded to her rider’s kind and encouraging guidance, and got to work.
Each footfall built upon the previous one. She found her rhythm; increased her momentum; driving… breathing… extending her stride and digging to the depths of her Soul…
It was remarkable. She caught some horses near the final turn, systematically picking them off one by one; passing the 2009 Kentucky Derby winner, passing the 2009 Belmont Stakes winner, passing the best horses from Ireland and Brazil – and then – with astonishing form, Zenyatta become the first mare in history to win the coup de gras of horse racing on American soil; the one and one quarter mile Breeder’s Cup.
She soundly defeated the best horses in the world, in spite the hardships she had to overcome. She never surrendered, never doubted; instead, she relentlessly conquered. Her effort left some people cheering wildly, while other’s ecstatic tears smeared makeup and drenched countless tissues.
Mike Smith, the jockey, rode this impressive, elegant mare to front of the grandstand; her veins still swollen and throbbing beneath her glistening dark bay coat, her nostrils still widened with each massive breath.
She stood regally, not frightened by thousands of screaming, emotional voices or thousands of waving arms. Instead, she interacted with grace and dignity… they cheered and waved ever more enthusiastically, completely unleashing the adoration shared by people all over the world.
Her racing career was one of fortitude and beauty. She evoked awe from the very beginning. People who had turned their backs on the industry for its failures, atrocities and cruelties, temporarily turned back, saying, “We believe.”
Ardent fans delighted in renewed hope; their hearts filled with warmth and wonder; repeating the words, “We believe.”
Zenyatta’s whirlwind swept up and redeemed all in her path. They joined the resounding chant, “Yes, we believe.”
Grace, Confidence and Unconditional Love
The following year – 2010 – Zenyatta once again sailed through an undefeated season, and stepped, once again, onto the track for the Breeder’s Cup Classic. This time, the race began without distraction.
Slow to start, Zenyatta propelled her massive body from the gate with tremendous strides. The other horses – all of them – pulled away from her as they flew toward the first turn.
With persistent and ever-increasing power, she invested every fiber of her being; her mind, muscles, nerves and Heart. Given her Gifts, her understanding, her will-power and generosity, it was inevitable. She would make this a contest of wits, wills and determination for her human connections.
But she once again had a grueling task in front of her. She wasn’t a jackrabbit in the beginning, and found herself twenty lengths from the leader. For another horse, this might have been too daunting, as certain psychological, emotional and physical fatigue would consume the effort long before the finish line.
However, in familiar form, Zenyatta rounded the turn for home, passing every horse… except for one. A horse named Blame.
Nearing the end they grappled mercilessly, matching themselves stride for stride in the final stretch, each unwilling to yield to the other. Blame held on, stretching his head across the wire first.
Zenyatta’s fans were stricken. It was as if a large poisonous dart had pierced them. Gloom descended in one big, inescapable cloud. If only the finish line was just a bit further…
Emotions suddenly burst forth as Zenyatta’s fans and connections bore the burden of a terrible defeat. Tears and moans filled the air as people grieved the loss of what was to be the most taxing and thrilling race Zenyatta had ever run. She overcame a twenty length deficit to come within a nose of her twentieth victory, out of twenty races.
Unmarred and unscathed, Zenyatta never acknowledged the fallacy of human needs and whims; her pride remaining as regal as it ever was. Necks and noses didn’t matter. She may have felt disappointment from her jockey and from the energies surrounding her, but it quickly dissipated.
She didn’t ‘lose’, she never lost. People still cherished her, and that’s what she felt, that’s what mattered; she gave her all and deserved the unconditional love and appreciation all around her. Without it, her achievements would have been a violation and a sham.
Zenyatta will always be her True Self. An impressive racing record, Hall of Fame recognition, Sports Illustrated stories, whatever famous people say, the materialistic, subjective, good/bad, right/wrong world doesn’t change a Soul like hers.
People should still chant the words, “We believe.”
The Power of Heart
Zenyatta, with her grit, grace and outstanding power, stirred the cauldron of earthly energies and changed us. During this time, we shared Love and Light. Our differences momentarily faded.
Although she couldn’t ‘speak’, she addressed the hearts of people with her own.
When the power of a pure heart acts, it leads us ‘home’, if only for a short while.
Her campaign advertised much more than just horse racing. Beyond all banalities, her time in the spotlight was about inclusiveness, beauty, love, and a brighter existence. For a short while, we believed in a brighter future.
She inspired us. She ‘involved’ us. Young and old, and across the spectrum of gender and social status, she lifted us higher. Even those pragmatic, dogmatic soldiers of the industry said that there was something spiritual about her. She possessed the “look of eagles”-“The Look of Eagles”, by John Taintor Foote, D. Appleton-Century Company, New York, 1936, when she turned her attention toward her admiring fans.
Little did they know, that when they strained to touch her – they did in a way – and she perceived it; she ‘knew’. Nothing corrupts the connective ability horses have naturally maintained through ages and eons. They are much purer than we are.
Shortly after her racing career ended, a video taken during her first days at Lane’s End Farm reduced its viewers to tears. Galloping across her paddock, whinnying into the wind, her unbridled spirit took flight and made us cry. She had raised us to heights we hadn’t been accustomed to, bringing us together in love and hope. She inspired us, and now she was free… free to run unprompted and unfettered. The truth of her message pierced through our armor and rested gently in our hearts.
People commented profusely on various blogs and discussions about Zenyatta. Here are a couple of examples (public content):
“I can’t read about Zenyatta’s accomplishment without experiencing that now familiar swell that begins in the lower abdomen, followed by the sense of that rushing upwards to lodge in the throat followed shortly afterwards by tears rolling down my face. Some may call it emotional. If they are right, then it is an emotional response to something overwhelming for which there is no other outlet. All I know is that I witnessed something beyond it all when I watched Zenyatta race.”
“I think that we are feeling something beyond emotion, something far more significant and everlasting. This mare has evoked some kind of awakening in our slumbering consciousness, something so remarkable and so beautiful, that it holds the key to the mystery of ‘spirit’.”
They believed whole-heartedly.
Humans want to belong; we want acceptance and we want to be liked. We have a lot of rules in order to accomplish this. We must look a certain way, act a certain way, think a certain way, be a certain way, all of which delays our authentic expression. Horses aren’t slaves to these fabricated sandbox rules. They cut through it like it was bad hay.
They embrace us with all of our faults, foibles, and maladies, our mental illnesses, our baggage and our limitations.
They will allow a child who has suffered paralysis because of brain trauma to be set upon their backs, and during this sweet action, set this child free; a child who otherwise must be fed and wheeled around by others. A child that suffers in this way and smiles brightly is a testimony to the special gift horses give freely and without exception.
Liberation on the one hand, inclusiveness on the other.
Horses have a way of sharing their hearts that reach deeply into our psyche. Like mythical Pegasus, they soar so much higher and stretch so much further than we do; yet, through their ability to connect and deeply understand… along with their incredible capacity for Love and devotion, they not only can take us to places we wish to go, they want to take us places we wish to go.
So, when a large group of people say there is something spiritual about Zenyatta, they say that they feel something greater, something mysterious, and something wonderful. It fills our hearts with warmth and clarity because it meets our basic needs without knowing how or why. For horses, Life combines physical and non-physical coherence that we still fail to comprehend.
The rules of the material world differ from the rules of the non-material world. In the non-material realm, communication is limitless, reaching beyond time and space; it’s not manipulated, nor is it bound to one location. People from all over the world can feel its effects simultaneously, while rendering languages and dialects inconsequential.
The very nature of spirituality transcends the material. We feel it; we know it, we react emotionally and physically to it. Some weep, some leap for joy.
And we desperately want this. We want to feel connected to each other, and a horse like Zenyatta did that for us. We revere her strength, pride, and Gifts. We love her beauty and her talent. We love her determination and courage.
But most of all, we love her because she loves us, and she wants us to be pleased.
Zenyatta – one among all horses – wants to share the vast wealth she possesses as a sentient, important being on this planet. This is part of the inherited treasure all horses possess and offer in their unique and individual ways.
Hopefully, we can listen once again to Zenyatta’s message, and learn how to share and contribute as they do; altruistically, Lovingly and non-judgmentally…
Once that torch is reignited within us, we can do things we never thought possible…