Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Take Life By The Reins

I really am not sure how I came to the decision to try horseback riding. I mean, my therapist suggested me to get a hobby - something that would relax me, and I chose to take on horseback riding... never mind the fact that I was terrified of the idea of getting on a horse... Sometimes I surprise myself with my strange logic.

When I told my Honey that I decided to take horseback riding lessons, he laughed ~ you don't need lessons to ride a horse, you just get on the horse and ride!

"Sorry!" I tried to find an excuse to my fears, "I am a city girl and not much of a nature person. I know nothing about horses!"

While horses are known as gentle giants, I was nervous... for the giants part.

Fast-forward four months, I came from the stables one day very excited: "I finally stopped holding on to the saddle when trotting!" I said.

After a moment of silence, there was a burst of laughter.


"Let me tell you," I said, "brave people are those who face their fears and overcome them, not the ones who have no fears!"

Then, a moment later, I heard: "you are absolutely right, I should not be laughing."

I know I am right, I thought... But then I realized something else ~ instead of making usual apologies for my "flaws", I proudly declared that I actually am brave... and, not only is no one laughing anymore, but also we both respect me more... It is true ~ how we project ourselves to the world determines how we are defined! I felt strong and empowered.

Hmm... It is interesting that I drive my car daily, and it is both bigger and way more dangerous than a horse, and yet, it does not empower me in any way. So why do I have no problem driving cars, but not riding horses? Is it because horses are alive and have a mind of their own, and I, somehow, need to connect with them and somehow make them do what I want?  Aha!

Fast-forward a few more months, I learned to rely on my intuition and feelings when riding, and to connect with the horse, as if we are one body. I learned to tell myself to go forward, choose directions, make turns, and so does the horse. I cannot let my guard down so I don't fly out of the saddle ~ I am in control of the ride. And if I fail, I try again.  No horse can tell me what to do, I am in charge.

Yes, the horse has mind of its own, and I never know what to expect. But I trust myself to overcome whatever challenge comes. I hold the reins, sit up tall, and be fearless... and I say to myself ~ just enjoy the ride...

Kind of like life, isn't it?

*Want to shout out a well deserved credit to my amazing instructor Kim Stanford!
xo, Zuma A.
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