Today I read another bloggers post about the magic of riding horses. This is something we sometimes forget when we get caught up in the training, the lessons, the expectations, the competitions, and on and on. We get frustrated when we have a bad day riding; things just did not go right and things we have been able to do for weeks suddenly elude us! We try to find answers.Was it me? Was I doing something wrong? Did he not understand me? But he got it last week so where did it go today? Is there something wrong? Is he sore somewhere? What could be wrong? Where could he be sore? What ? Why?
Round and round and round we go. At least as the years have gone by I have learned not to blame the horse. If the horse is sound and well then the problem may be with me. Or it may just be a bad day. The benefit of having eyes on the ground with a coach and trainer is that this is the moment when their professional opinion is worth its’ weight in gold. Often they can see the problem or they can see that there is no problem, it is just a stage of training and will be worked through.
Here is another thing I have learned as a rider of horses. No matter what is going wrong in my life, when I get to the barn I leave the outside world at the gate. No matter how bad, grumpy, sad, despondent I feel when I arrive as soon as I start to groom my horse I start to feel better. With each brush stroke the troubles start to fade away. Even if I have a poor or even downright bad ride I still feel better.
A few years ago if I had a bad ride the committee in my head would start in with; “I can’t do this. I’m just not good enough. I’m too old. This is hopeless.”. I have learned that there are some very tough times in training with a horse but I am lucky enough to have good coaches who can help me through these times.Things will get better and things will improve. I will get it. I am good enough. I am old but not too old. It is never hopeless.
On a good day it is the greatest therapy in the world. The feeling that I have been able to communicate with another species and work in a partnership with him is exhilarating beyond belief. I have spent that time on my horse not thinking about anything other than what I am doing with him; every stride, every aid I give , every movement. If this is not ‘living in the present moment’, if this is not “mindfulness” I don’t know what is. These are the magic moments.
Sometimes I take a break from training and go out for a trail ride. Just me and my horse Biasini. This is another kind of magic moment. I have written blog posts about this before and I’m sure I will again because it is a great source of joy for me.
What got me onto this train of thought? A wonderful blog post I read by Avery at AHA Moments. I’d like to extend an invitation to you to read it and see how riding a horse is an experience shared by people of all ages and all places in the world. Here is a link to her blog post where she talks about the magic moments of riding at night in the cold.