Hold Your Horses

Sometimes the best horse time is about just showing up

Reading a recent article about Betty Lynn Buckley and her cutting horses, I stumbled upon a great truth about life with horses: If you’re not careful you just might miss it. 

Celtic spirituality teaches that horses are meant to be spiritual partners for humans — they are the only companion animal that has been with us (dogs are a distant second) since prehistoric times. In the collective and as individuals, horses are always there for us — but it has to be our choice to make time in our lives to receive this amazing gift.

I have two horses. And yes, I have broken the cardinal rule of horse ownership: I love them. They are part of me, part of my life, and both, in very different ways, inextricably connected to my soul. Yeah, I’ve got it bad.

So why, after a lifetime spent yearning after horses in varying degrees, do I let even one day go by without spending time with them? I am living my dream, right? Well, some days, absolutely. I can’t believe my good fortune on the days I do get to ride, enjoy and generally just hang out with my horses. But other days? Not so much. Those are the days I can’t even get to the barn. Or worse, I get there with not enough time and too much on my mind to fully enjoy and immerse, soul deep, in the richness horses always offer — whenever we show up to receive it.

The funny — and somewhat ironic thing is, I’m the one who wrote in The Smart Women’s Guide to Midlife Horses about the value of spending even 15 minutes with your horse. In the “physician heal thyself” vein, I need to take my own book’s advice: Take 15 minutes for your horse — and yourself. Every single day. Even if you can’t ride. Even if it’s too muddy to do groundwork. Even if you don’t get him out of his stall or paddock because you’ve come straight from work and are WAY overdressed for the barn. Horses have a way of centering and grounding us as nothing else, and even if all you do is go out and just sit with your horse after a long, wooly day in the real world (adult beverage optional), you’re getting at least a whiff (pun intended — barns are aromatherapy for some of us) of the good stuff you would otherwise miss completely.

Woody Allen is famous for saying “80% of success is just showing up.” Not that I’m presenting Woody Allen as any sort of horse authority, but I do think this is a generally recognized (and oft quoted) truth that applies especially well to our horse life. Let’s all agree to just show up — and see what unexpected joy (like Buckley’s cutting horse epiphany) is waiting there for us.

So who wants to join me in this daily 15 minute-resolution? Let’s agree to keep track of what good things come of it and I’ll circle back to this in 30 days to share some observations — and invite yours! And, if you already have thoughts to share on this idea, please let us hear from you. 

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