you and me

I Am the Little Girl Raised by a Horse.


I am the little girl staring up through the treetops as the late morning sun filters through.

I hear the rhythmic chomp, chomp, chomp as he chews his way through mouthful after mouthful of tender green grass. We sought this place out together, and it’s perfect. I am at home in his immense presence. I take comfort in his quiet strength and deep love for me.

I’m lying stretched out along his back like a happy cat, my head on his rump, my tiny bum right behind his withers and my little bare feet moving up and down his roached mane. I close my eyes and take it all in. I smell the warm pines on the wind, and I smell him. These are my favorite smells in the whole world. I hear the flies buzzing around him. He swats at them with his tail, a constant swish, swish, swish.

As he slowly grazes from point A to point B, my left hip shifts, then my right shoulder, then my right hip shifts, then my left shoulder — my giant babysitter is rocking me to sleep. The horseflies swarm around his belly and he lands them a swift kick with his powerful hind leg. I lurch from side to side, never losing balance. We are one. I smile. This goes on for hours, both of us content to just be together.

I am the little girl who stepped out of the house that morning, looked down across the creek into the pasture, and searched for him, only to find he was searching for me. I waved. He raised his ears and nickered, and started my way, swinging his head from side to side, showing how excited he was to see me. He came to the fence and we embraced, nose to nose, breathing each other in.

He stepped up parallel to the fence and held perfectly still as I leapt from the top rail to his back, no saddle, no reins, no nothing. No need.

I am the little girl who hung from his tail, danced on his back, crawled under his belly, and pulled him around by his soft, fuzzy upper lip. I am the little girl who fed him pancakes, chocolate chip cookies and raw eggs, still in their shells, and buckets of fresh cow’s milk (for which I got many spankings).

I am the little girl who was raised by a horse.

He was no ordinary horse of course. He taught me that despite the war going on in my house, there was peace to be found in his presence. He taught me that I was exceptional, when I felt I was so ordinary to the world. He taught me that I was important, when I simply wanted to disappear.

And here I sit, as the woman I’ve worked so hard to become, having finally figured out how things got so very complicated. You see, I’ve lost count of the men who have said to me “You intimidate me” or “You scare me.” That used to put me back on my heels. I thought, “I’m doing something wrong here, I don’t want to intimidate anyone.” The more authentic and true I became to myself, the more I heard it.

Wait a second! What’s going on here? I’m the woman I want to be, living the life I deserve!

So I challenged them to answer some questions.

“What intimidates or scares you about me?” I asked. “Well, you’re confident, beautiful, intelligent, and you don’t need anyone.” Yep, thanks, and who says I don’t? I have needs just like you do. I need to be desired, touched and loved just the way I am.

Definition of intimidate: frighten or overawe someone in order to make them do what you want. Frighten, menace, terrify, to cow…

I asked them to look up the definition, and then tell me if that was indeed what I was doing or if it was something else. Is it me doing something, or is it you reacting to something about me?

With some extended painful inquiries and truthful reflecting, they revealed a golden nugget.

Looking at me and my life made them find themselves lacking. This made them feel insecure. This in turn made them associate a feeling of fear with me, a feeling that I was somehow dangerous to them… that I was intimidating to them.

Loosely translated: “Your amazing love of life and confidence in yourself and your path make me feel like I’m lacking in some way, and someday, no matter how much you like me now, you’ll eventually wake up and find me lacking too. So let’s just agree that it’s you, not me, and I’ll walk away with my ego intact, the man I always thought I was before I met you.”

Here’s the secret: You walking away will not make me any less amazing, nor you any more so. I don’t use you to measure me, I expect the same.

Insecurity is a cage. It keeps the obese from exercising, the shy from meeting people, the genius from showing his brainpower. It makes people hide behind their outer beauty out of fear that they’ll never survive on their inner beauty.

My power didn’t make them insecure, their fear of my rejection did. They rejected themselves and cheated us both.

I am the little girl who just wanted to be loved, just wanted to have a normal home where nobody drank, nobody fought, nobody threatened to leave again and again. My big furry friend taught me that though I was living in a war zone, that there was beauty and love and safety there in his presence. He taught me that though I felt helpless and small, I was capable and powerful.

He taught me that I’m an untamable spirit. He taught me to know and love the taste of freedom. He taught me that when someone really loves you, they give you the quiet strength that sets a person free. He taught me to fly.

He was my first gift sent directly from God. He taught me to race fearlessly down the paths God has chosen for me, with reckless abandon and unshakable faith.

I am the little girl who grew up and left the one who loved me perfectly, only to never be loved like that again… yet. He is buried on the hill, overlooking the place, with the rest of the great horses, where he can have the first glimpse of me when I return.

I am the little girl who became the woman who is a force to be reckoned with. The woman who raised two generous, kind and compassionate children, got three college degrees, baited remote sensor cameras for grizzly bears, nursed injured raptors, saved lives on a medical flight team, produced two original music albums, and loved with everything she had, every soul she ever met.

I am the little girl who went on to become the woman who is strong, sleek, smart and powerful. I am the little girl who became the horse.


Polly Cavill is leading life fearlessly with her heart on her sleeve. Some might call this reckless, but she doesn’t know a single person who hasn’t been destroyed by life and love at least once. She is a creative trouble-making entrepreneur, singer/songwriter, author, who spends her money earning workdays in the ICU, experiencing the fluid dance of life and death. She is what she is, a product of the combination of each day of her life up to today.


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