There has never been a day that I didn’t want to ride or be with my horse! It’s an indescribable love and connection that started when I was a child and has never disappeared! My horse Whistler is a wonderful soul and there is a deep connection that we share. We share a mind and body experience of trust, love, loyalty and friendship. My horse knows I will never give up on him, as he has never given up on me over the years. Though he has had injuries and obstacles, his willingness to come back and be back in the saddle with me is simply amazing, he just always shows up! There is an understanding and a language with few words and many feelings.
Why is this my bliss? It’s a euphoric feeling and once you experience it, it can stay with you forever. This experience of riding and caring for a horse teaches us so many things beside the physical, it teaches us respect, empathy, courage, discipline, endurance, love and kindness, it teaches us about ourselves! Let me introduce you to my horse Whistler. He is kind, loving and very gentle, and if you can picture it, he weighs 1400 pounds.
Riding is like an onion, there are so many layers, you work on the discipline, the ride and then you start all over again! The discipline of the sport never stops unfolding. It’s continuous, and there is no end to it, layers upon layer, the moment you remove one layer, another one appears, just like your life.
Things in your life change and it’s always reflected in your ride. Your horse picks up the energy that you bring in, and slowly you work together. As you change, or your perspective changes, it can impact your position on your horse, your posture, energy and approach. Let me describe what it is like to come into the arena to ride. The arena is an indoor facility we use throughout the year similar to a hockey arena without the ice. The barn that I ride at is an eco-friendly barn built with recycled large windows, you can see the trees and watch the seasons change in front of you all year long. I ride at a unique facility where the horses are in the round, they all get to see each other with a large skylight letting natural light into the barn at all times, giving airiness, light and all the horses get to see each other.
The Feng Shui of the barn and the wonderful energy of the horses really creates a feeling of comfort and bliss. (Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese belief that the way your house is built or the way that you arrange objects affects your success, health and happiness.) Coming into the arena to ride requires that you leave everything else behind. You need to focus on your ride, your body, legs, and hand seat. You’re focused on the horse’s feedback, his ear position, his movement, and his reaction to what your asking of him.
Your ride asks you to focus and react to what’s going on in the saddle. When you react to your horse, who may not be doing what you want, are you doing it with force, or with kindness and encouragement? Wherever you are in your life will show up in front of you. This experience is not just the ride, it’s the interaction you enjoy in grooming and spending time together. This incredible large animal weighing hundreds of pounds can feel like your extra large friendly, loving pet dog.
I’m grateful for this experience that I have always longed for and cherished since my initial ride at nine years old. The touch of the soft nose of your horse, the smell of the leather and the bridle and saddle. The simple brush stroke when grooming and the eye to eye contact that speaks volumes.
This is my bliss.