Overcoming my Horse Addiction

by Rosie Bason, Mullumbimby, NSW

Horses have had a major role in my life. When I was 9 years old I experienced my first riding lessons. That was it, I was in, hooked. I didn’t realise until later in life that I had a horse addiction.

I really wanted to get into the horse community so I volunteered at local stables and pretty much did anything in exchange for lessons. My parents would not pay for them so I found a way. As my horse addiction grew, I soon became ‘wanted’ as I was one of the riders who had the guts to ride all the difficult horses that no one else wanted to ride.

I loved it because it made me feel needed. I loved it because when I rode a difficult horse, I was seen and recognised. It didn’t matter to me if I would get thrown off, or the danger I put myself in, what mattered was I was noticed. I was taught to be strong, to dominate as well as be quite unkind to horses, all in the name of training.

MY CAREER WITH HORSES

The more I worked with horses, the more I became addicted. I used to teach riding and would be the one who would stay up all night nursing a sick horse. I would go on 2 or 3 beach rides a day. I was a hard worker, tough and would put up with anything, including my allergy to horses. I made a career out of horses, managed stables, trained horses, competed, and even studied to be an Equine massage therapist.

I identified with being the rider, the instructor, the horse massage therapist… Giving up a career and a hobby that I had identified with so strongly has given me the opportunity to let go and now be so much more.

MY HEALTH ISSUES RELATING TO HORSES

As my horse addiction continued, so did my health issues, including my allergy problems. I went to the doctor about my allergy in the early years and was told that I should not be near horses. To this comment I remember responding clearly; “well, I would rather die than have a life without horses”. So from then on I would just sneeze every time I was around them, take antihistamines and pretend it really wasn’t happening, and it was no big deal. The other issue that I have lived with since I was 9 years old was major dental complications –  which started from a horse knocking out my front teeth.

Looking back, I had no idea of the harm I was self-inflicting. I had no love for myself and I was looking for love, comfort and an identity, which I found through horses.

This is why I was with them in the first place…

  • Horses were my version of love.
  • I gained comfort from horses when I felt sad and lonely.
  • Horses gave me a connection to nature and I loved that.
  • Horses kept me busy and made me strong and tough so I wouldn’t have to feel how fragile and sensitive I am.
  • Horses allowed me to be noticed and be needed as a ‘good rider’.
  • I could hide with horses and not be seen or have to deal with the real world. In other words, I just lived ‘horses’ and it was as if life did not exist outside.

THE REALITY AND DREAM OF OWNING MY OWN HORSE

Ever since I was young I had always dreamed of having my own horses, and when I returned to Australia when I turned 30, I made that dream come true. What I realised soon after, was that it was just that… a dream. I enjoyed the experience but I was not attached to it: I learnt from it. I could see how I had attracted a horse into my life (who was abusive even though she was pretty)… a pattern I had experienced before with my choice of boyfriends! Sometimes patterns repeat themselves in many different ways.

I also learnt that in reality I had been allergic for all these years and my body had been screaming at me loud and clear and I had ignored it, numbed it, shut it up over and over. I could now see the self-abuse I had chosen without ever noticing or honouring this in the past.

SELLING MY HORSES AND CHOOSING ME

I sold the horses once I chose to look after ME. No one ever suggested I do, but it is something I came to realise myself. I recognised the crazy amount of money that I was spending on them, which then left me without any money for me. All that extra work I had to do so that I could have them. I saw the amount of ‘toughness’ that I had to put my body in when dealing with carrying bales of hay, buckets of water and fixing and doing all the other horse related chores. I became aware of all the time that I gave to them instead of my daughter and all the other parts of my life – including me.

In letting go of the horses and choosing me, I have given myself permission to love me more than them, which used to be the other way round.

LETTING GO OF MY HORSE ADDICTION

Like a lot of addictions, we are often not aware that the addiction exists. For me, I have realised that in many ways my horse addiction was more detrimental to my wellbeing than actually taking drugs, because it was so hidden. Getting out of the horse industry has been one of the most loving things I have ever done for myself. I don’t miss it; I enjoy looking at horses in a paddock but I no longer want one, and I have no desire to get up close and personal to the point where my body reacts to them. I have found that the thing that I loved about the horses was that it allowed me to be in a rhythm that was close to nature. I would get up early for the horses, and I loved to be outside and I still do, and now I can do that without having to harm my body or treat it in a way that no longer feels okay to me.

The level of self-awareness and self love that I now live came to me from the courses presented by Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine, and it’s with so much appreciation that I am here today feeling amazing and no longer dependent on a horse or any other addiction to make me feel good.

249 thoughts on “Overcoming my Horse Addiction

  1. I had no choice but to have horse lessons when young and the first impression was that the horse cursed being there as much as I did. The horses were controlled, of course for safety reasons with young children around and I felt its resentment. It’s quirky ways of taking control whenever it had any opportunity meant that I distrusted the animal I was sitting on. It was not at all difficult when my time was up, to walk away. I never felt it was the horses fault, but man’s relationship to them.

    1. This is so lovely to read Simon, and very true. Made me think back to all the horses that I worked with who had to carry big tourists on beach rides every day in the hot sun in the Caribbean. There sure was a lot of resentment there and they behaved but only to a certain level. The ones who had a relationship with their owners and were respected rather than used was a whole other story.

  2. As you mention we often are unaware that we are addicted to something, because it seems ‘normal’ to us – and to society. “In letting go of the horses and choosing me, I have given myself permission to love me more than them, which used to be the other way round.” Beautiful.

  3. Thanks for sharing the depth of your horse addiction with such truth , honesty and love .Its interesting to read as so many young girls go horse mad and bury themselves in horses , and fall in love with horses and to hear how and why it played out for you makes so much sense .A great lesson in human psychology .

  4. I have observed women with horses and it is a very very tough job to tend to them as they are such big and heavy animals. The way horse riders relate to each other, their language and their bodies are very hard, it is like many sports not at all nurturing a woman in her femininity and fragility and therefor interesting that so many young girls are hooked into this, which says a lot about our society and the way we treat and support young girls.

    1. I was chatting to an old friend who used to have horses when I did and it was a cold rainy evening and we were both loving the fact that we didn’t have to go out in the bad weather to carry feed buckets and bails of hay. Like many things, when you are in it, you get numb to it and don’t realise and it is not until it is not a part of your every day that you can see it all clearly.

      1. It is great that you were able to stop, feel and allow yourself to see your addiction with such clarity and love. It inspires us to also be honesty, reflect and ponder on our choices too, and also perhaps asks ourselves are all our choices truly loving and supportive?

      2. I like that too Rosie. I have been horse riding in the past as well and enjoyed doing the tough jobs and that I had to go out in the rain to do the work, or at least I thought I was enjoying that at the time! It makes me only now realised how it was never a loving thing to do but that it gave me a place to fit into society: being a horse lover.

      3. I can also now remember that I would get recognition from doing the tough or dirty jobs. I thought I was strong and championed the fact that I was not a “barbie doll” and could do anything…. all at the cost of my body!!!

  5. That’s a side that I have not heard before Rosie. Like so many things we do, only in hindsight do we see how destructive they are. It’s awesome to now be learning to see these thing before we sign a contract with them.

    1. Interesting how you have used the word contract Kim, because with so many of these things we do, there really is a hidden contract that at times can really hard to break.

  6. We can pour what we think is love into something and all the while pretending it is something it is not. The wake up can be harsh and so it is much easier to keep pretending. Great that you were able to wake up to the reality of your addiction and move on.

  7. We have very clear ideas of what things can be addictive like drugs, alcohol, gambling etc. however from my experience, we can be addicted to using pretty well anything… nice, drama, sniff out an issue anywhere, relationship issues, and we rarely flutter an eyelid. Like you Rosie, it’s looking at how what we are choosing is affecting our bodies, lives, relationships and everything we do and start to be honest with what we need to give to ourselves that is true.

    1. Ahhhh Aimee, you just made me realise how I just may have a little addiction to complication. It is as if as soon as things in my life are going smoothly, I seem to find something else that makes things complicated. Will have to ponder on this!

  8. Great blog Rosie. I have noticed, with any addiction be it with horses, other pets, or even gambling, etc. we often use addictions to avoid feeling what is truly going on for us. It is very inspiring how you realised this and more, and chose to let go of your addiction for horses to reconnect with yourself, to care and nurture you first. It takes honesty, awareness, self-love and willingness to be able to let go of addictions and you have shown us that this is definitely possible by making different, more loving choices.

  9. Wow I had never considered it was even possible to be addicted to something like horses and yet, of course we can, it is an addiction like any other. A bandaid that fills a gaping hole and need in our lives. What struck me also was how self abusive you got to feed your addiction – ignoring your symptoms, spending all your money to the detriment of both you and your daughter. The pattern is so classic. Thank you for expanding my awareness of addiction in all its colours.

    1. Thanks Lucy, it would be interesting to see what other types of addictions people have as I am sure there are many that we are unaware of as was the case with my horse addiction.

  10. “Like a lot of addictions, we are often not aware that the addiction exists.” Absolutely spot on Rosie. There is no shortage of examples but food and beverages are a good starting point.

    1. Good point, food really is an addiction as why else do we over eat, and stuff ourselves to the point of being bloated and physically uncomfortable. I often do this, eat and eat and eat and then wonder why I did it again. Similar to drinking alcohol, feeling terrible the morning after and yet doing it again and again. Now I have managed to give up the alcohol and many others, but food… now that is another story and I have thought to myself lately, do I seriously want to keep doing this to myself until I get a digestive disorder as a STOP or should I just make some changes now.

  11. Only recently I have had contact with horses and they are for sure big imposing but also beautiful animals. But I have also worked with many people who have ridden horses and make them their life and they seem to all have physical ailments and be in some level of pain in their bodies, shoulder pain, neck tension, back ache to name a few. The toll of riding horses is one that many wish to ignore, but the fact is it does seem to be quite hard on the body to look after and ride these animals.

  12. Your story is extraordinary Rosie for even though many people put themselves through great harm for their addictions, few actually come to the awareness you have and choose to let go of it through embracing a level of care previously ignored…. and in doing so learn to enjoy themselves without seemingly needing something else to make them feel good.

    1. Thank you Samantha, its is great to celebrate letting go of addictions and becoming aware of all the small other ones we have picked up along the way.

  13. It is incredible how much we are willing to harm our bodies to have something that comforts us and gives us recognition – a place in life to fit into.

  14. I love how you realised that horses gave you an excuse to get up early and to be out in nature. Two things that we really don’t need horses for and can appreciate and make a part of our lives without excuse or justification.

  15. I wanted a horse when I was young. I lived on a farm and persistently day in day out asked for one but I never got one. On reflection I can feel how I wanted a horse to escape life, to be in nature and on my own.

  16. Recognising our addictions and or patterns of behaviour that do not serve our bodies natural flow, marks a major turning point in uncovering the truth of what really makes us tick. Love and deep care is the answer and one that is a series of building blocks that we deepen and appreciate over time and what you have shared here Rosie is so deeply inspiring. Thank you.

    1. Cracking those patterns of behaviour and letting go of what we are used to can be challenging yet so freeing at the same time.

  17. There are many addictions, it is only that we have labeled some of them as addiction and see them as unhealthy while others we don’t call addiction but things that do us good. But as you show here, an addiction is an addiction and is simply a means for us cope with (or rather avoid life). You give a very practical example of how to allow for an honest look at where we are at with everything we do in life which then enables us to make different choices.

  18. Its interesting to ponder on the things that we supposedly love doing that impact on our health or even puts our health or lives as risk. It’s not so much about the activity itself, for it could be anything, but the fact that we choose it initially anyway and it’s more often than not about needing something outside of ourselves to make us feel apart of something.

  19. Addictions come in all shapes and sizes, what you are really saying here Rosie is that it doesn’t matter what the addiction, it is in choosing ourselves that is the key ingredient here.

  20. I very much appreciate the honesty here in your sharing about your relationship with horses Rosie. It’s worth us all looking at any areas of our lives where we may (1) be driven, a bit obsessive even… and (2) constantly over-ride the loud-speaker signals our bodies are giving us. To have continually lived with your allergy and yet persisted really says a lot…
    How readily we will neglect our health and well-being, in pursuit of something that gives us everything we are desiring, but perhaps not the actual love we’ve been looking for…

  21. People are used to talking about alcohol, drugs, gambling or work as addictions, but the fact is there are many things that can seem benign that affect us the same way. In fact you could say these are worse as they tend to fly under the radar. Today reading your words Rosie, what I am seeing in my life is that I have been seriously addicted to issues and drama. Like riding a horse who keeps throwing me down to the ground, leaving me wounded and sore – I moan but repetitively keep coming back for more. We are our own worst enemies this way. We are horrified by the threat of terrorists in our world today but sometimes it feels to me that it is us who causes ourselves the greatest harm.

    1. Yes Joseph, we are the ones who cause ourselves the most harm, and looking outside of ourselves at the terrorists for example is just a distraction. Yes we have to be aware of what is going on in the world, but we also need to be aware of what we are doing to ourselves on a daily basis and stop to question it rather than be stuck in the never ending merry go round and then think that it is someone else’s fault, or just is, or c’est la vie!

  22. Many of us would claim our love of something and from your sharing, Rosie, I can feel how unhealthy it is for anyone to go far to say and mean ‘can’t live without it’ – which we actually hear quite often. You have also clearly exposed the misuse of the word ‘love’ in this sense. We are enough already and it is not true that we cannot live without something because we ‘love’ it so much.

  23. I am not that knowledgeable about horses but I do know they are very large and take a lot of money and work to look after. I can imagine the vets bills for them can run very high. Thank you for being so honest about your horse addiction and how you came to unpick what was really going on for you. I can see how there are many addictions that probably go unnoticed because they come under the category of a hobby or a passion. I am thinking of food, dining out, drinking or exercise to name a few.

  24. It’s just come to me that one of my addictions used to be reading. An erudite and noble pastime many might think, but I know I used to read to escape and not feel how miserable I was. Now that I have a life I enjoy, I no longer want to escape so the reasons I choose to read are now very different.

  25. This is a great sharing to broaden our understanding of all the addictive ways we have adopted. As you state in the end addictions are making us feel good, however only temporarily in a form of relief because we need to keep doing them as they do not allow for building a loving foundation with ourselves. So turning towards ourselves and learning to take deep care of ourselves and deal with the hurts and sadness we hold will let us see the addictions we hold.

  26. Thank you for sharing your experience Rosie. I too was obsessed with horses and thought they were the only thing in the world I could vent too. And only recently I realised how allergic I was to horses. I would have sores all over my legs and face through all the years I was riding and yet I never wanted to associate it with horses. As soon as I stopped and let go of horses, my skin totally cleared up.

    1. It is amazing what we turn a blind eye to or what we allow when we don’t want to feel or see the bigger picture!

  27. What a great sharing Rosie, and revealing how we can be addicted to so many different things when there is a need in us. Over the years I have seen one addiction stop only to be replaced with another, and so on, and it is only by looking at the underlying need and healing that that I have been able to start truly letting the addictions go.

  28. Horses were a big part of my life, but it wasn’t just the horses it was the nostalgia, the connection to an old way of living, a farmilartity that I felt and wanted to relive, which I did for years. Whilst horses and the life style I lived held aspects that I loved, I also felt an emptiness that nothing could seem to fill. Until I realised I felt empty because I missed myself.

    1. It is very freeing when we realise it is not the horse, the sport, the man or this or that but ourselves that we really miss as then we don’t actually need anyone to fill our cup, for it is ours alone to fill.

  29. It’s interesting to note if we are addicted to something it is most likely it will be harmful in relation to where we actually should be i.e. we maybe addicted to the same routine of eating vegetables each week that are considered to be healthy but it may not support our body at that point. So an addiction is just a comfortable point or way of being to not move on.

  30. It is great to hear how you are bringing all that love to yourself now Rosie, and I’m sure there is more since you have written this blog, instead of seeking it outside of yourself.

    1. I wrote this blog so long ago, and yes there is always more ways of loving myself and others. Always more to unfold.

  31. ‘In letting go of the horses and choosing me, I have given myself permission to love me more than them, which used to be the other way round.’ Beautiful how you have now put yourself first, giving yourself permission to love yourself for just being you.

  32. I grew up on a farm where we used horses for farm work and the relationship with the horse is a loving working relationship and we also did pony tracking on the beach. I learned that horses enjoy working as a horse ,ploughing , pulling carts,etc Horses do not like to be ridden it un-nerves them and humiliates them. These spirited animals are not designed to carry humans on their back, I expect the same to be true of elephants .

    1. Thats an interesting way to look at it John, and I was thinking that when working, they had a purpose and yet being ridden there really is no purpose other than entertainment maybe. I totally see from an anatomical point of view how they are not meant to be ridden and it seems cruel to push them to do this, and yes, no wonder they are so nervy. I would be too if you put a bit in my mouth and sat bouncing around on my lower back.

  33. Knowing you now, post-horse addiction, I would say that you are totally clear of it. Reading this blog, I had no idea this was how you previously lived. This is a great example of how we can clear fully addictions. They are not simply behaviours we need to get under control, we can actually be totally free of them with no residue remaining.

    1. Thanks Nikki, it is true, there is nothing horsey about me anymore yet I used to eat, sleep and drink horse.. well not quite, but you know what I mean.. I even smelt like one! hahaha…

      1. On a more serious note though, I have realised that I have had a few addictions in my time….. and looking back, it is more like it was in another lifetime because they have nothing on me now… I don’t long for them, miss them or even relate to them anymore.

  34. It is very easy for pets to become a source of our love, they are infinitely understanding and don’t argue with us! But the love we seek is far grander, and we are capable of much more.

  35. ‘Like a lot of addictions, we are often not aware that the addiction exists’. As so goes the path of illusion we have all fallen for. A path that conveniently blinds us from truth and seeing the grandness of who we are.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s