Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Almost eight months ago I met Austin for the first time.  To say I had some doubts at first is an understatement.  He was so lovely, so well trained; I was convinced my inexperience would ruin him for good.  It has taken us a little time to get to know one another, but I can honestly say that we are a match made in heaven.  Austin's sweet nature, sincerity, patience and bravery has not only made me a better rider, it has made me a better person.  What follows are some of the lessons this marvelous horse has taught me about life, perseverance, and the challenge of riding as an adult.

  1.  In the words of A.A. Milne's Winnie the Pooh, "You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think."  Finding the right horse is like finding the right spouse, they make you a better person.  When we find a horse that we connect with, the trust that we share translates into every area of our life.  This is a bond that is difficult to translate into words, as it is one of mutual trust and respect.  I now know what I was missing in my previous equine relationships.  Whether on trails or in an arena, I trust Austin entirely and know that he would never do anything to intentionally harm me.  Likewise, I know that he feels safe with me, and trusts that I will react calmly when he gets scared.  This experience has made us both more confident, and I find this confidence having a positive influence on other areas of my life.
  2.  Keep your heels down.  This is something that riders around the world use as their mantra, and for good reason.  No matter what discipline you ride, letting your weight fall into your heels keeps you from leaning forward in the saddle and helps to maintain the alignment of shoulder, hip and heel.  This is easier said than done, especially if you no longer have the flexibility of an 11 year old.  To help me in this endeavor, I've found a few stretching exercises that have done the trick.  My favorite one is to stand on the edge of the stairs, relax my hip as I push the weight into my heel.  Doing this for a few minutes on each side every day does wonders for stretching out those tight calf and heel muscles.  As a result, I have become much more flexible and not nearly as stiff when I get out of bed in the morning.  It has also helped with the next lesson.
  3. Sit evenly on both seat bones.  While this may sound simple enough, it is not always very easy to do.  I often find that I am leaning to one side or another, throwing me off balance.  I'm not sure if this is the result of aging, or if I have one leg shorter than the other, but maintaining a balanced seat has been a constant struggle for me.  When I do finally find that perfect spot it is like reaching Nirvana.  Sitting evenly on both seat bones makes a rider more balanced, and is thus more comfortable for the horse.  In addition, sudden unexpected movements are much less likely to result in a fall if you are sitting evenly in the saddle.  Knowing this, I have become increasingly aware of my body both in and out of the saddle.  I often catch myself standing with my weight shifted to one side, or sitting in a chair leaning off to one side and immediately correct my posture.  Hopefully this will help maintain my center of gravity as I get older.
  4. Don't drop the outside rein.  Oh boy, this is a hard one for me.  As my instructor says, remembering not to drop the outside rein while giving a little on the inside rein is like patting your head and rubbing your tummy while you skip - in other words, not easy.  I've never been particularly coordinated, so this is really stretching my ability to do multiple things at one time.  Even though I am right handed, my left hand seems to take over the reins in whatever direction we are moving.  There have been moments where I wonder whether I will ever get this right, and I have to push those negative thoughts from my head.  Getting rid of the little voice inside that tells me I can't, or that I am too old, is no longer viable.  I want this too badly, and so I persevere.  Shutting out negative thoughts has translated into other areas of my life, and instead of telling myself I can't, I now believe I can.  With this in mind, I will continue to work at holding onto that outside rein until I no longer have to remind myself to do so, even if I'm 85.
  5. Always look where you want to go.  Boy, this is a metaphor for life if I've ever heard one!  I know I'm not alone when I tell you that my tendency is to put my head down when I ride and watch everything but the path in front of me.  Sitting in the driver's seat means watching the road ahead of you and planning your next turn.  The same can be said for life.  I've learned to keep my head held high, and plan for the road ahead.

What have you learned from your horse?

Views: 121


You need to be a member of Barnmice Equestrian Social Community to add comments!

Join Barnmice Equestrian Social Community

The Rider Marketplace

International Horse News

Click Here for Barnmice Horse News

© 2024   Created by Barnmice Admin.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service