Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.

Ashley Smith

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Play Misty for me...

I was thinking about riding today.  Which, if you know me, isn't at all unusual.

From Rother Horse Camp- going again in May! Sooo excited!
 I do a lot of my thinking while walking across our hay field to work.  Right now, it is not recognizable as a hay field, it looks like a snow field.  There really could be anything under that thick blanket of white.  However, I know from experience what is under there.  GRASS! lots of it, just waiting to feed our horses, our buffalo, our sheep. 

Willow- Official Hay Inspector

But today I was not thinking about the grass, I was thinking about riding.

I was thinking about why I love it.  Why I pursue it, why I am obsessed addicted preoccupied  very, very interested in horses and riding. Why I work full time to support this habit.  And why, if i am this obsessed interested, I don't compete in horse shows or ride endurance or do dressage or jumping or competitive trail or SOMETHING. Sure, part of it is the time and money, but if one truly wants to do something one finds a way. 

Trail Challenge- Mailbox obstacle

When the student is ready, the teacher appears.  To me this means that once your goal is determined, the path to achieve it will become quite clear.

I thought "Why don't I have a goal?" 

As anyone with self esteem issues knows, this type of question can propel you into a s@#* storm of self attack culminating in something akin to:

 "Of course you don't have a goal, you are a terrible person"

Being in recovery from the perfectionist view point that perpetuates this kind of attack, I was quick to thwart it by asking the more reasonable question:

"What is my goal?" (better, yes?)

I realized I'm not looking for the perfect jump or the flawless lead change.  Or roll back.  Or sliding stop.  I'm not interested in going the farthest, the fastest or even being the prettiest.  I don't need a horse with an impressive pedigree or impeccable conformation. Because I figured out remembered what made me a horse crazy girl in the first place.  And I remembered what it was because an article I read on Equitrekking reminded me about Marguerite Henry.

Do you remember Marguerite Henry?  She wrote Misty of Chincoteague as well as a pile of other horse books (Brighty of the Grand Canyon, Justin Morgan Had a Horse, Stormy to mention a few...) 

I don't know this for certain, but I think Misty was the first book I read about horses.  I still remember exactly what the book looked like, felt like and smelled like.  It had this cover:

Well, after I read the article, I absolutely had to revisit this book, so I checked it out of the library. (We watched the movie as well, but the book is definitely better).  After I finished reading, there were certain images (feelings, really) that stuck with me.  Although the book is titled Misty of Chincoteague, it is mostly about her mother, Phantom, and how two children gentled her to ride.  How they climbed on her back with a pad and a rope halter and let her run full speed down the beach.  How they worked to gain her trust and how they trusted her to fly across the landscape with them on her back.

They reminded me what my goal with horses was (and still is). 


I want that feeling of freedom that you only really know when you canter a horse on a flat open piece of ground or successfully negotiate that barking, charging dog.  That mutual feeling of trust as you leave the herd behind and strike out by yourself with a relaxed and confident mount.

Specifically, I want to saddle up my horse, ride down the driveway and ride down to the boat launch. And I want to do it this summer.  We are working on it, one step at a time.

So thank you Marguerite and thank you Misty for reminding me of what I am after.

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“Few are those who see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts.” -Albert Einstein