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?