Riding Diaries, Lesson 9: Warmth

Today my heart melted in a special way. When I arrived (and since I was also a bit early), I walked around to say hi and look at the other horses. One horse was in the main arena and stood up when I came by… I guess it was lying down from sleeping. I felt bad for startling it. That horse then proceeded to eat the leaves off of this nearby tall bush! It was quite a sight to watch this huge animal just pulling fresh leaves off of this 20 foot or so plant. I was still waiting for my instructor so I walked up to the fence that enclosed the arena area there, and the horse walked right up to me! I was wondering if it thought I would have food, but the motion of walking towards me was enough to make my day.

Early on during my lesson today, I also felt this warmth in the saddle – one that I had never felt before. My instructor pointed out that I was sitting deeper in the saddle. I guess my body is getting more used to the proper positioning, and I’m not bouncing as much (which has previously left me bruised and chaffed in not so pleasant areas…). I attribute this to a conscious decision that I made to really get beyond my nervousness of horseback riding today – and just have fun.

Today we got to enlarging and reducing the size of the circle that Marigold and I were walking; changing directions; changing the size of the circle again. I’m getting much better at adjusting. Going from trot to walk speed still takes some effort though. I’m supposed to pull my elbows back, but for some reason I’m always pulling with my wrists, and then turning them in the process. Apparently if an emergency were to ensue, that would not be good because the reins would be too long to be useful to me.

My dream of having my own horse one day continues to ensue and deepen. At first I was wondering how this would even be possible, but now I am learning to just let it sink in. In time, the path and the answer to this will come in its own way. I don’t have to “make it happen” – but rather allow it to come into my life. This is a radical shift for me, a person who historically has been so good at making things happen for herself – even though they didn’t turn out at all how I had expected or hoped. Rather, when I allow new things into my life – things I did not dream up or plan – they turn out even better than I could have ever imagined. Somehow, it will come. I trust that God has planted this new dream in me, as other new dreams that have bubbled up, and He will reveal in the wisdom of His timing, the way.

In the meantime, I am enjoying my new helmet and shoes. They also made a huge difference in today’s lesson. I’m sitting at a cafe writing this now after having just ventured to San Diego to explore the horse facilities here. I stumbled upon a ranch that is also the home of the UCSD Equestrian Team! The horses there looked so big – I don’t know if they appeared larger to me because their stable areas were bigger or what. There were also signs that warned about some of them biting. All I experienced when walking up to them, though, was them just sticking their heads out to come closer to me. One of the things I’ve learned is not to try and pet the horse’s head – they don’t seem to like it. For now, then, I just stand there, and we just look at each other. We are just present to one another. This is enough. More than enough. It brings an incredibly satiating joy deeper than the core of my soul. That’s the best that I can explain it. Silent, secret gasps that echo in the recesses of my heart. Captivated is a major understatement.




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