Sunday, November 14, 2010

Things I never expected

Coming back to horses as an adult allows you to realize many things you never noticed the first time around. I was generally an introspective child, but I don't remember being quite as swept away by my horse as I am now.

Today I went to the barn alone, determined to work on cantering a bit. No one else was there, so I got to do all the things I don't normally do when I have kids to wrangle or folks to visit with. I breathed in my horse's smell, buried my face in his neck. I lingered here and there, noticing how his coloring has changed over the last week, how deep the black is, how he is, indeed, smokey.

I wondered if they named him after a winter season - he was born in April, so he may have been more golden colored. But who knows. Foals seem to change so dramatically in color you never know what you'll end up with.


After we finished our work in the arena (I did as Shirley suggested and did transitions. We cantered a bit, but I had trouble with circling. We may need a larger arena for that.), he did so well I decided we should hand graze to celebrate. We brought Lily out to join us and walked around for a bit.

It was quiet and I watched my two wonderful horses, carefully picking through dried grass, looking for the perfect blade.

Standing in the quiet reminded me of the list I started on the plane the other day, the list of the things I never expected from adding horses back into my life.

I never expected horses would somehow make me calmer. The sense of calm extends far beyond the barn, when I go home I feel the gentle stillness within, am reminded of how to stop I exhale deeply and we stop, together. Being calm allows me to see potential everywhere, to feel more, to connect effortlessly. It's not to say that horse time can be anything but calm. Lord knows I've had those days. But when it goes right, like it did today, I find the peace I search for in my everyday life.

I never expected horses would place me firmly in the present. It's something I've endeavored to do and only rock climbing got me to that place in the past. When rock climbing became a thing of the past, I found it hard to find something else that could replace the hours and hours of that feeling. Until horses re-entered my life. When I'm alone with my horses I am only in that very moment. Everything fades away - the worries over the past, the fretting over the future, the wondering of what could be, the longing for what was - and we live, wholly, in the only time that really exists - the now.


Enough rambling for one Sunday. This is just two points from a pretty long list, I find I want to contemplate a few of these at a time. Maybe I'll add more in later posts. Maybe just this rumination is enough.

How about you? What have you found on horseback that you didn't expect?


Dan and Betty said...

My rock climbing days are long in the past. We got into horses at age 50 which was 15 years ago. We bought our first horses at age 60 and that was 5 years ago. Horses give me a sense of living in the now, a sense of peace and, every once in a while, a sense of fear. That's all part of the same package -- being alive and doing something that has an element of risk to it. I don't fear riding, but I respect he fact that I'm on an animal that has it's own mind and it's own agenda. It's wonderful when our agendas align together, but sometimes that's not the case. Like flying, any ride where I come back still in the saddle is a good ride.

Just some ramblings on my part.


Fantastyk Voyager said...

I love to hand graze my horses. It is so calming after a long work day. Sometimes I think just being around them is as good as riding them. But, I didn't always feel that way. When I was a teenager, I had a friend who never rode her mare. I rode the horse for the friend, who was in her early twenties and a student. She gave her horse the absolute best care she could, grooming and hand grazing Babe daily, but she rarely wanted to ride. I could NOT understand it. Now I do.

juliette said...

Lovely post. I, too, have found so many wonderful moments in my re-entry into horses after a 7 year break. This time round, the calm is overwhelming. I am lost in the moment when I ride and all problems and worries about time fall away. I find myself to be a kinder person after I ride - less likely to fly off the handle with my family when I return home. I tell my husband, it is like having this secret and no one knows it but me. I smile and think about the horses. Also, the confidence is amazing now. I feel proud to have horse hair on my jeans from a bareback ride and I go anyhere like that with such confidence! Horses have given me more joy than I ever thought possible.

Anonymous said...

The things you mention are also probably the most important to me, too - well said!

Shirley said...

Good post- that's what I call horse therapy. The best stress relief ever is just quiet time with your horse.

Funder said...

Hear hear! Awesome post.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

All you mention, but I find it especially interesting that I can be fearful just thinking about riding, however once I'm in the saddle I feel at home, confident and courageous. I also feel a true connection or partnership with my horse. When I ride, we are having an ongoing conversation.

Muddy K said...

Thank you for the wonderful post. Sometimes it's just in the air. I wrote the other day about playing with my horses and the way that keeps me fully present, in the moment. Horses have the power to make time move naturally, not race by while we humans attempt fruitlessly to keep up with it.

Ms Martyr said...

Spending quality time around horses has filled an emptiness in my soul that I hadn't realized existed. I'm no longer pursuing activities to make me whole; I'm finally there.

Grey Horse Matters said...

Being with my horses has a calming effect on me too. They also make me laugh and see the humor in the things they do. When I'm on a horse I have no time to think about what needs to be done at home, with kids, with the farm etc. I just think about what I'm doing and how happy being with my horses make me feel and how lucky I am to even have horses in my life. Great post.

Susan said...

Just hanging out with horses is always a worthwhile, as well as satisfying way, to spend my time. You put it beautifully.

Gabriella Elise said...

Very, very well said... One of the things I've found is that when I'm around horses, I am totally at ease with the world. Nothing disturbs me, even the most dreadful crisis is easily resolved; the world means nothing outside of the fact that I am with my horse. Horses are the best listeners, you know?

Jan said...

Breathe, I love this post. Your thoughts are so quiet and peaceful. Thanks for reminding us of the quiet joys we get from our horses. One thing that surprises and delights me as I continue with Buckshot is how the relationship with him deepens, and how, almost without being aware of it, I have gotten to know him better- how his playful moods come out, or how something still worries him a bit, or the wonderful sound of his sigh when we are walking- these things warm my heart even more as I get to know him ever better.

morningbrayfarm said...

I love picturing you breathing in Smokey's smell and burying your face in his neck. I'm sure he loved it too.

And - I smiled when I read that you brought Lily out to join you. :D I'm sure she loved that.

Jessica Boyd said...

Not having immersed myself until adulthood hit and suddenly finding myself as horse-crazy as a 12-year old girl, I can totally relate.

I love when I can go to the barn with no time constraints and just absorb them, breathe them in like the wine snobs around me breathe in a "bouquet."

Love it.