Beginning of March, 2015
I’ve been on a blog-break and spent a week in sunny Florida where we DID take a palm tree forest trail ride to see a different kind of riding, it was just good to get on a horse in short sleeves.
Upon returning to the cold VA mountains we found almost 2 feet of snow and yet we rode, not far, not fast, but we rode.
Though FL was a fun escape, I think the warm weather was equal in need to the downtime with good friends. There was so much laughing I think I actually might have improved my abs (or at least partially offset the eating and wine)! Even so, I can’t imagine leaving the mountains behind for a FL winter.
I am not good at being uncomfortable, so it’s good for me to be forced to deal with things I would possibly avoid if given the chance. Like Winter. I think it makes me stronger.
Besides riding through clean untouched snow (which is some of the most beautiful riding ever) I love the intense quiet. I love how clear the sky is at night, and I love the break on my senses I get… less noise, less color, less options. I love making it through and seeing the rebirth of everything. I am however not giving up all the seasons for a life in Alaska or Northern Canada. I don’t love winter because I like being cold- I love the changes. Thus at this very snow end of the season, I’ve been dreaming
of mild spring temperatures and thinking about spring activities like getting shoes and spring vet visit…. and hoping I can have Faygo ready for a 30 mile ride at the end of April- that’s next month! We need less snow now, we need better footing and more miles.
I’ve been getting back to the gym and while running on the treadmill, looking out the window at over a foot of snow I kept my spirits up by imagining riding in our first AERC event- and not being cold. I heard this song that inspired me this morning for some thoughts during my run.
I once read the reason people love horses so much is some of us are at heart centaurs. When you are on a horse, you are no longer just a human- but a half horse half (wo)man and both you become better beings. As a team, the horse has to give up her natural flight instinct and trust you to understand the world from a higher brain perspective… in many ways you change what the horse sees- instead of a life threat it’s just a plastic bag, a lamb, or a dark shadow crossing the stream. As a team you move together but on her legs as you trust your horse will put aside her instincts and fears and not throw you on the ground and run to safety when she sees sheep (Faygo is terrified of sheep).
Not everyone may agree, but I believe the only right way to “work” your horse is as partners. You have to both trust and give up a little of your own being to become one. But the last line of the song is what really touched me: Your soul you must keep, totally free. I want cooperation, I want a partnership, but I never want to break the spirit of my horse for my own purposes. I want her to make the choice and be willing to lend me her heart, her hooves, her eyes, but never her soul. Once again, I find that working with horses teaches me how to be my best person.
Can I practice this in my human relationships? Can I love my husband enough to partner with him in our hearts and without crushing the wildness of his spirit? Can I bend myself to be a better partner to him? Can I love my family and my friends? The people closest to me make this hard as too often I want to mold them into my vision instead of loving their own unique souls? It’s because I care and want to align with them because I DO love them– strangers are easy to move on from. I fail at this too often but my horses teach me to remember. I can do better. They seem to believe in me, even when I fail them.
I did a couple adjustments on the lyrics to fit my horse thoughts, but here are the words that so inspired me…
Awake My Soul: Mumford & Sons
Lend me your hooves and we’ll conquer them all
Lend me your heart and I won’t let you fall
Lend me your eyes I can change what you see
But your soul you must keep, totally free