My Moment

A young rider at a horse show in Australia

Image via Wikipedia

Prompt: Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors).

Off the top of my head I would have to say when I am riding and I get a “zen” moment. When everything clicks and you merge with the horse. Where every shift of balence between you and the horse is a spoken command and you no longer have to think about what you need to be doing, you just are doing them.

These moments do not happen often but when they do they are amazing. I tell everyone that horseback riding is my stress relief and it is, but it is also my form of meditation because if my mind is running a hundred miles an hour then I am not able to get that connection. I have to get myself relaxed and able to hold the pattern of directions in my head while not anticipating each moment. If you anticipate the next action your body reacts by leaning that direction and the horse will react by changing his body in response which ruins the flow.

It is the patterns that I have done for a month straight with no progess that suddenly click and me and the horse move through them like we are one being on four legs.

For the last 15 years I have riden hunter/jumper. I recently started taking lessons in western to get out of a rut I had gotten in. I have tried to explain why I love jumping to friends and they do not get it. The fact is I love it because you have to trust the horse and the horse has to trust you. The rider does not pick where the horse jumps to go over the fence. You can cue the horse but they do not have to respond to that cue. It is up to the rider to let go and trust the horse to pick the right moment to jump. The horse is not able to see the fence when he jumps. A horse has a blind spot dead in front of it’s head in the shape of a triangle with the wide end facing away from the horse. In the last stride before the jump the horse loses sight of the fence and is jumping on instinct. The horse has to trust the rider to cue at the right moment and the rider has to trust the horse to jump at the right spot even if the cue they give is at the wrong moment.

The jumps I always had issues with were the ones where I could not judge the spot to cue the horse. I had to let go and let the horse get me over the fence. And that is terrifying, to let go of control. Yet, those were some of my best jumps. Those are the rounds I remember where everything clicked and we flew through the course like we were connected. Those are the good days, when you remember that you are not the one in control, the horse is the one preforming the actions. A horse has more muscles in it’s neck then in the entire human body. It is only allowing you to direct it. It does not have to do anything you say, but it trusts you not to hurt it. It allows you to point it at fences and ditches and it knows you trust it to get you over. You trust it to get you though the distance you need to go.

That is my perfect moment.

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