About Standing in a Field With Horses:
If you’re not “boss mare” material, can you still work with horses? This was the question Maeve faced each time she interacted with a horse. If it wasn’t in her nature to dominate this animal, could she be around them and still stay true to herself? The equestrian world shouted in unison, “Get after him! Tell him who’s boss!” Yet Maeve couldn’t. When she did, it grated against her soul. Could she successfully navigate a life with equines if her leadership looked different?
In this moving memoir, Maeve Birch explores the dynamics between traditional horse handling and her communications with horses, which often didn’t align with what she was taught. In the stories shared, human issues such as codependency, lack of boundaries, impatience, violence, and fear crop up again and again, shaping numerous horse and human relationships. Standing in a Field With Horses traces the psychology, spirituality, and social dynamics of a woman trapped between obedience and self-expression along with the horses. As the practice of horse care and behavior study evolves, so too do the humans who cherish their hooved companions. They are inescapably linked together. The horses have a lot to say, if we are still enough to perceive their whispers through the demands of our human psyche. A new way of being with horses is on the horizon. Come, stand in a field and listen closely… You may hear more than you expect.
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Maeve Birch lives on the east coast of the US with her spouse and two cats. She became interested in horses at a young age, but was never able to take lessons. Horses remained at a distance until in her mid-twenties she began volunteering at various horse rescues, leading to an outright equine obsession.
After several years observing, interacting with, and listening to various horses, Maeve’s first book began to take shape. In finding the courage to voice her opinions, she realized that the horses had their own voices and opinions to share with her. Many of the initial assumptions passed down to her about horse behavior and training were not what she was hearing from the horses. In searching out other ways to exist with equines, she found mentors online and in books who shared her outlook on what the human-horse relationship could become. Physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of that relationship became clearer. The interactions between horses and humans were changing. This book became part of that shift.
The names and details of humans and horses in her books are changed to protect the identities of those at the barns she visits. Her goal is to openly document her own experience for the horses and humans who might benefit from the stories shared.
Maeve’s other hobbies include gardening, identifying birds, plants and other wildlife, stargazing, and painting. She spends many happy hours puttering around in her vegetable garden and sitting on a nice rock with a good view of a meadow. Someday she plans to have her own horses, but for now volunteering, lessons, and leasing will do.