Self Empowerment makes me think of that good old slogan "girl power!" that I grew up hearing over and over again. Yes, I am a child of the 80's... and somewhat the 90's... and we always used to respond to "turtle power!" with "girl power!" as kids. Empowerment is a good thing in my mind, it means that you are doing something (generally) positive for yourself because it's good to do, or you want to do it. I remember the first time I took an English style riding lesson (I had been riding Western for a while) and how empowering it felt to be in the smaller saddle, and how strong I felt being able to quickly pick up the English style, quick enough to compete in an English style walk-trot class just three days after my first lesson! I felt so strong and powerful on that pony's back, and I was so proud of myself for trying something new, competing so quickly, and I even won a fourth place ribbon! (Yes, there were more than four riders in the class!)
I was reading a bit about equine therapy recently, and how many of the riders feel strong and powerful when they are astride the wonderfully patient horse... how for many riders, it's the only time they've ever experienced legs strong enough to carry them around, to feel what it's like to move on your own accord, instead of with a walker or wheelchair. Talk about empowering! Watching kids climb aboard for the first time? Their grin? Their happiness? Empowering. Equines really do empower, in so many ways.
Looking back, I felt most empowered during my equestrian days. I loved the freedom being on horseback gave me, I loved the thrill of trying something new, because I felt secure on back of my horse or pony. I had confidence in my ability as a rider, not because my coach told me I was good enough, but because I just knew in my heart, that on my horse, I could do anything. I was involved with horses for almost 15 years, from the ground up, as the stable grunt and the show star. Learning how to ride, how to do everything involved in taking care of a horse, I felt so good! I didn't even mind mucking stalls, because I knew how important it was to my horse. Things were just different around horses. On the back of my trusted horse(s), I felt alive. I felt empowered.