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  • Writer's pictureDarcie Litwicki

The Sweetness in Goodbyes

One of my best friends died this time last year. It's taking me some time to grieve her loss. I'm still not through it all yet and maybe never will be. Lola was a really special horse that changed my life in too many ways to mention here in this blog but I will share a bit about her and those changes.

Lola came to live here at Silver Heart Ranch with me on her first birthday. She had caught my eye early on and I had seen her several times before buying her from my neighbor. I loved her jet black coat and shocking white blaze that looked a little like lightning. Other than that blaze, there were no other markings. She had long sleek legs and a willful temperament which I loved but also found challenging. Over her years here with me, we became partners and we trusted each other completely. I was her person and she allowed me in her personal space but was very cautious of letting others in close to her. However, If a person was patient and respectful of her space and sensitivity she would eventually allow them to come in closer and work with her. Lola and I did so many things together such as teaching horsemanship clinics, presenting horse training demos at several big horse expos, working cattle, riding in educational clinics, covering lots of ground on local trails, and she helped me start a lot of young horses for people.

At this point in my grieving process I'm at a place where I can share that she taught me to be a better horseman but more importantly a better human. Because Lola was super sensitive in mind and body during and following her recovery from a serious accident when she was four years old, I had to become really good at reading whether she was just being moody or if something was wrong. I had to become very light in my cues and handling of her which taught me to develop really great feel from my hands and body. She had a lot of fear around pain and I worked hard to listen her and reassure her that I would not be rough in my handling of her. With lots of good experiences, she began to understand that I would be gentle and listen to her. Getting to that good spot was not easy and luckily for me she was forgiving because I messed up sometimes without meaning too. I believe she could tell I didn't mean to. Once this trust was established, I could do anything with her. She would be right with me during work that required a lot of focus. I learned to be just as gentle even when we had faster work to do like roping another horse or getting a horse that was kind of stuck to free up their feet thus freeing up their mind.

Accepting Lola as she was and learning how to best work with her has made me a better coach for my clients too because no matter where they are at on their journey or what they are going through I know that I can be gentle with their feelings, listen deeply, be curious about how to best support them, and that I can trust my intuition about when to challenge them a little and when to allow them space. Horsemanship has been my

way of living and being and I learned this best from Lola. Due to Lola being in my life, I can move forward with the lessons she taught me and share them with others. I miss my beautiful girl but she is always in my heart filling it with her light.

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