Sunday, August 14, 2011

Horsing Around

I decided 6 years ago to mark each birthday with the goal to learn something new physically like a sport or to do something that would put me out of my comfort zone. So since then, I have gone up in a hot air balloon (loved), zip lined (loved loved), golfed (not so much love), surfed (so love), tap danced (not so much) and salsa danced (my enthusiasm makes up for my lack of coordination) and I learnt how to ride a horse, which has changed my life forever.

I can vividly remember asking my father during our summer vacation to let me feed the horses by the local store near our cottage. I couldn't wait to rush out of the car and grab handfuls of long grass and thrust my hand through the fence hoping that the horses would come by. At the beginning, they would just look up at me and not come to the fence. I would stand there and cry in frustration. Why won't they come, I asked my father. He said that a horse needs to trust you and they don't know you. I would return every day and stand by the fence. Finally, they came to the fence and I yelled with excitement, which lead the horses to turn around. My father laughed and said that I needed to be calm and quiet. He taught me to keep my palm flat and to tuck my thumb inside. The day came, when the horses walked to the fence and took the grass from my hand. I remembered feeling so happy.

My father's words would ring in my ears nearly four decades later, as I registered for my first class three years ago. While my initial objective was to learn a new physical skill, the time spent with the horses changed the goal from the physical to emotional.

For those of you who ride, you know what I mean. Each time you meet your horse, it is like it is a first time. There is a bit of trepidation, as you put your trust into a 1500 pound animal and the horse in turn puts its trust in you. It is very similar to our relationships with our friends, families and lovers. Trust and respect needs to be earned and should never be taken for granted.

Like all good relationships, there are bumps in the road. Yes, I have fallen, but fortunately I did not get hurt. Do I feel frustrated and disappointed by the fact that I was not doing something right and the horse would not respond, you better believe it. However, there are more times than not, when there is an eureka moment. It is that moment when everything clicks.

If life were full of eureka moments, then they would become common and their power to remind us of our potential less. Yet, we all have eureka moments each day. Some are big and others are little.

You don't have to ride a horse to have a eureka moment. Just think about something you loved as a kid and let that lead you to your inner joy.


  1. I admire you for trying something new physically each year that takes you out of your comfort zone. And I'm so happy for you that horseback riding makes you so happy. HR ( :