Right around the end of January, my mom and I sat down and had a brain-storming session. My concussion recovery had stalled. I was incredibly fatigued all the time. The least bit of activity was exhausting. Most quiet pursuits involve the use of the eyes and I was totally maxed out on looking at things. What, we wondered, could help me be just a little bit more active, wouldn't be too taxing on the eyes, and wouldn't be too loud and chaotic? I don't know what made me think of it, but I suggested, "What about learning to ride horses?"
|Me on a pony, age 3|
|My aunt and uncle's horses in Arizona.|
|We'd gone to the track to watch wiener dog races, |
but I was awestruck by the beauty of the horses
|I'm all smiles while grooming Lacey!|
|There's so much to brush!|
During our second class, we got into the saddle for the first time. I discovered that the downside of having a very mellow horse is that the horse is not very interested in moving. We were working on learning how to turn the horses (which is not quite as simple as "pull hard on one side"), but in order to practice turns, the horse has to first be moving forward. I ended up practicing my clucks and heel kicks and "walk on" commands far more than my "whoa!" Apparently, I have the makings of a natural horsewoman--my posture in the saddle and around the horse has been praised--though I didn't necessarily feel that way when Lacey was making a concerted effort to not go anywhere!
|I'm clucking at Lacey to encourage her to continue moving forward, hence the funny face.|
You can see how beautiful the setting is in this picture.
As I spoke of in my last post, I am keenly aware of the opposites of things, the costs as well as the benefits, and when it comes to activity, I usually must endure an equal-but-opposite reaction. Yesterday, I was outside in the spring air, learning the art of convincing a 1,000+ pound grazing animal to do my bidding. Today, I spent most the day in bed snuggling with my dog, exhausted, foggy-headed, and constantly being pecked at by migraines. (I wrote most of this yesterday while still feeling frisky from my riding session.) Therefore, I must, as always, weigh whether what I do is worth the subsequent suffering I endure. So far, when it comes to horses, the answer is yes! Yesterday, I didn't feel sick or disabled or powerless (except when Lacey didn't want to "walk on," but that's different than feeling like a martyr to every gust of wind). I was outside, the sun was shining, and little kids gathered at the fence of the corral from time to time to watch in awe. I love the smell of the horses, of their coats and even the manure, the sight of the green woods and broad lawns of the park, the unexpected joy of seeing the park's enormous resident pig frisking with the caretaker cleaning out its nearby pen, even the pleasure of wearing jeans and boots, an outfit with far different intentions than my daily uniform of soft yoga pants and fleece slipper-socks. And then there's Lacey herself, shifting her weight off of one of her back hooves as she relaxed into the the ministrations of the curry comb I ran over her warm bulk.
|The sun is shining, the trees are starting to bloom, and I am sitting on a horse: all is right in the world.|
So far it comes down to this: running the comb over Lacey's contours makes me happy. The scent of her makes me happy. Having something to look forward to each week makes me happy. I'd say that my little version of equine therapy is an enormous success.