I hadn’t noticed him making his way up the field behind me. It really wasn’t something I expected lying quietly in a field waiting for rabbits to hop into range. He let me know he’d arrived by gently blowing in my ear, that and trying to eat my trousers. Once the munching had stopped, I turned over to find myself lying at Cid’s hooves. I sat up and we looked at each other. He continued to sniff my jacket and then my trousers, as if to confirm they were indeed matching in both design and scent.
I managed to sit up against the small barn I’d laid next to and as my fear started to fade I was able to truly see him. I soon became as interested in him as he’d been in me. Now though, he was more interested in the grass and yet he always stayed close enough that I could feel the heat from his breath.
I felt like a very small boy being that close to this very big horse. As a teenager I’d always felt uncomfortable in my physical self – my self, self. He was not, would never, could not. I longed to know how it felt to be comfortable in your own skin, as comfortable as he was, in all his dappled grey magnificence.
Horses are fantastic barometers of emotion. They react to your mood before you’re even aware it’s changed. The shift from fear, to admiration, to self consciousness ignited in Cid an intense focus. He lowered his head and met my gaze, then he struck me with the top of his nose under my chin banging my head painfully against the barn.
I felt as though this confident animal was measuring itself against me and I was found wanting. So sensitive to my feelings, at one point he’d found me interesting, then acceptable but now was offended by my presence. My own insecurities made him uncertain of me. When I was open and feeling calm it was ok for me to be there, but now, I needed to leave. I made a sudden movement with my arms. He stepped away, threw back his head and allowed me to go.
There are times in life when you cannot hide. He’d seen the disquiet I felt deep inside and reflected that back to me. It was a horse called Cid that showed me what it means to be comfortable in your own skin and helped me see how important that would be if I wanted to be truly happy.
© Paul C Siebenthal April 2013
Paul C Siebenthal is a 38 year-old Aspie who was diagnosed at 25. Started blogging and tweeting last year as Aspienaut, working for NASA (New Autism Spectrum Awareness). He is passionate about creativity and helping young people on the spectrum to see just how amazing they are and how great it can be to be Wired Differently.