I got back in the saddle today.
For someone who shares her life with 13 horses this might not sound like a big deal but it was.
I haven’t really been in the saddle for close to 2 years.
Among my herd of horses, most of them are not rideable any longer, mine is not a relationship with the horses that is often found on the back of them.
Retired, injured and seeking a second purpose, most of my horses are teachers on the ground, showing us the path to deeper truths by mirroring it back to us.
When I moved onto the 80-acre ranch i now called home, I added 4 trail horses to my herd. 2 retired and 2 that I would be able to enjoy as mounts.
My path with horses was not always one that was focused on the back of them.
I always felt when I was in the space of the horse there was something unique about it. I felt as if I found my home within myself and so most of my time was spent sitting in fields, being in their company and soaking in the wisdom that I found there.
I didn’t grow up on a farm. I didn’t have my own horse until I turned 27. And my riding consisted of summers spent at riding camps and a few trail rides sprinkled here and there over the course of my life.
I love riding, but I love spending time with horses more. I know with them it isn’t always about the ride.
And yet I admit there is something powerful about sitting on the back of the horse. Something vulnerable, and, of course, a bit of fear.
Sunday was the first time I was going to ride one of my new horses – a dream come true and yet I was nervous.
I was scared, I was fearful, I was not confident and there was something else in there.
The day before my scheduled ride, I went out to spend time with my herd as I do every day. I was a little bit avoiding Chief, my new lead gelding and future mount of said ride, as I walked into the field.
I was aware of this, of course, and I was sorting through my feelings of riding.
Fear, and also guilt.
Building a relationship with a horse is important to me, so is honoring them not just as a spiritual partner but one in the physical as well.
I didn’t want to be a burden to this horse and so as I felt my way through those feelings he confidently with strength came over to stand by me.
I felt the acknowledgment by him in that moment, as if he came over to say, "It’s ok, I trust you and it would be an honor to carry you on my back."
I stood with him a while longer asking him to partner in the ride with me. He rubbed his face against my arm, licked and chewed. Another affirmation. And as I left the field he continued to follow me a few steps until I was out.
Sunday as I walked out to the field to bring him in to get saddled, he was standing off by himself, grazing peacefully, enjoying the grass and the sun.
As I approached I did so with intention, and also with strength, seeking the part of me that knew this was a powerful and okay thing to hold space for.
He was still and kind as I went to halter him, standing quietly as I did. No resistance, no running from me.
Again I felt that deep-seated feeling of trust from him. He trusted me in this relationship.
We walked to the barn, my friend and my other horse, Jet, with us and we began the preparation.
I took care as I groomed Chief, speaking softly to him, thanking him for being present with me. I confessed my fears and also continued to sink quietly into my own space of confidence.
We made our way to the ring and it was time to get on his back.
He stood patiently with me as I hoisted myself up in the saddle and then…
Peace, calm and connection.
I sunk deeply into being on his back, remembering what it felt like to be in the saddle, promising we would have a nice easy ride.
And we did.
After spending sometime in the outdoor ring we made our way out into the trails that surround my property.
Chief and I, Jet and my friend and we walked, we explored and we trusted.
It was a beautiful day and a beautiful connection and something occurred to me in that saddle.
Here I am on this beautiful property on the back of a gorgeous horse that belongs to me, riding in the trails. Wow.
This is my life. And I found the courage to claim it.
And through it all deepened my relationship with this beautiful horse of mine who helped me build a bridge back to the space of trust.
Trust in myself, trust in him and trust in our bond, although new, has already struck me by the depths of it.
And I remembered something else I had forgotten:
I know how to ride.
It was a powerful lesson for me about acknowledging the fear and the emotions that go with it and trusting the space anyways.
I will use this experience as a reminder of that, to not allow my thoughts of insecurities and doubts cloud the magic and power of trusting a relationship, a desire and pull to honor something deeper and of course.
That it’s ok for me to enjoy the space of being on the back of the horse, to feel the joy in it and honor the horse that holds it for me.
So my question to you…
Where in your life are you withholding something from yourself?
An experience of joy? Of desire? Of calling because you are afraid?
What if you could trust that urge, that calling and stepped into it?
There is something on the other side of fear.
Something so deeply right.
It’s waiting for you to claim it.
It’s not going to wait forever for you to do it.
What would it look like for you to take just one step towards it?