This is another post I loved.
Riding is like this for me. The solitude and connection that you get with the horse and the motion. The steady three or two beat cadence beating out like a heart. You time your breathing to it.
It becomes still and focused like you are doing meditation while in motion. I have heard others describe it, many of those being people who compete in sports, as the delve into the “zone”, “zen area”, “knives edge of focus”.
It is a centering of the mind that pulls you to be totally present in what you are doing. You cannot worry about work, home, school, relationships. It is only you and the motion. Awards, winning or losing, failing, none of that matters. Pain, exhaustion, it all falls away till all that is left is the action. Each muscle flex pulling you along till you blink and realize that you are done.
My favorite time to ride is when no one else is at the barn. I have heard from everyone how dangerous it is to ride alone but the solitude is what draws me to it. I can do as little or as much as I want. I can spend an hour grooming my horse and letting the repetitive action quiet my mind till both of us are relaxed and ready for the next day. There is no competition, no instructor shouting out directions or criticism, there is just you and the horse.
What drew me to riding was that 99% of the time an error is blamed on the rider. There is no saying your horse had a bad day, though it does happen now and again. Even in a show or event, the rider is judged on their ride, most of the time alone in the ring. Some classes are done in groups but much of the showing I did was jumping and when you jump it is just you and the horse in the ring. Just you and them. No one else.
I could see myself enjoying an event where I spent three weeks alone on a trail. I love working and spending time alone. It means that you are the one whom all the decisions fall on. If you fail, you caused it. No one else is there to push you to continue but yourself. It means you must have faith in yourself and be prepared to push yourself past the point you would be willing to give up if there were others to lean on. It is a mental game that many would not be up to, without the support of others they begin to doubt themselves.
- My Moment (offthemarkandroaming.wordpress.com)