The Transformational Power of Riding
As we age, our inclination is to be safer. There is more at risk as we mature: employment that we need to show up for because we have monetary obligations (hard to do if you’re injured), families to care for, and obligations in our community. We take fewer risks with our time, our bodies, and our resources. This is why I am always so impressed and inspired by our riders who are pushing their boundaries by getting on the back of a horse.
In the weekly adult riding class, we have a variety of women that show up every week, no matter the weather, temperature, or season with their positive attitudes and willing spirits. This group of gals ranges in their age, physical abilities, and health challenges. Even with those challenges they do their best to be a person that the horse wants to trust.
Recently, a rider started with us that had a stroke this fall. Not only is her body compromised in its strength and balance, but she also has NEVER ridden before. There is a part of me that wants to ask the question, are you SURE about this? Riding is inherently a risky endeavor, even more so when there are physical limitations and trying something completely new. By the end of the lesson, she was riding independently with a mostly cooperative horse. Getting a 1200-pound partner to go, stop, and turn at your direction takes practice. And practice she did! Her spirit never flagged even when her horse was happier to stand than to walk. Her smile stayed on her face when she was worried that her horse wouldn’t stop and she wasn’t afraid to ask for help getting her leg over the saddle to get down.
May we all approach life this way: when there is a health issue beyond our control, and a new opportunity that contains situations we might not be prepared for, to go forth with openness, joy, and positive expectation. By doing so, this rider is opening herself to an entirely new way of thinking and being, developing skills and a relationship that will change her life. Who knows where this might take her? What I do know is that this is time well spent: opening our hearts to what life may bring.