I remember when it started. My parents held my chubby four year old hand and walked down the block and across the street to a nearby field where, Oh Wonder of Wonders! horses grazed, multicolored on the golden brown hill. The late afternoon sun picked highlights from their coats and ears pricked as we called them to the fence. A bay came over and lipped sugar from hands held carefully flat so that fingers would not be mistaken for carrots; snuffling, whiskers tickling, gently removing the treats and nudging me for more.
We regarded each other: large brown eyes in big brown head, bright blue eyes in little freckled face. Our souls communicated silently, and from that day forth, I belonged to horses. Not as a hobby or a sport, but as an integral part of my life. They renew me and connect me to God.
Many theorize about why some people are strongly drawn to horses. Horses ground us in the moment and expect us to pay attention and be present with them. A closely bonded horse and rider pair communicate invisibly and seamlessly, with small touches and softly murmured words and sounds. My ponies greet me with a throaty nicker – “Hey, it’s you! Got something for me? Let’s go do something together!” and I have a million little touches and nicknames for them, for they are beloved children to me. I have a friend who theorizes that the more nicknames a pet has, the more beloved it is.
Perhaps it’s the freedom of movement, the power, speed, and partnership with a large animal, a feeling of competency, or maybe just a friend who is always there for you.
Nothing is better than riding and being in harmony with a horse. A wonderful trail ride, a super jump round, or dressage movements flowing harmoniously – when we’re in synch with our horse, we feel completed. And oh the comfort of a horse hug, and the smell of delicious pony breath when you’re having a rough day. I’ve wiped my tears on a horse neck more than once. They’ve stood quietly, and then turned to look at me with a gentle prod of the muzzle (“Hey, sorry about that. Could you feed me now?”). Horses are one of God’s very good gifts to us…
I am Grateful.
Instructions for living a life:
Tell about it. ~Mary Oliver