Lessons from the Horses #3 – Freedom

Lessons from the Horses #3 – Freedom

October 21, 2011

I've been spending a lot of time with horses lately.

I've also been studying how the mind/body connection (or lack thereof) can really impact the quality of our experience.  Many hours, adding up to years of my waking life have been spent in my head, strategizing, convinced I had to be involved in every aspect of things to retain control and remain safe, while ignoring the feedback signals my body was giving me.

On Monday I rode with a friend and curiously found myself scanning my body as my horse, Dama, cantered up a hill.  I simply wanted to know if I was staying connected ("in my body") and/or if I was unconsciously contracted anywhere, trying to control, not trusting in myself or the horse. (Note: THIS was progress in my horseback riding ability. I used to just hang on to the mane for dear life praying fervently at any speed that exceeded a walk.  My praying was another way to pretend I was in control and left no time for body scanning.)

I felt my toes in my boots pressing on the stirrups.
I felt my calves and thighs holding on with gentle pressure.

No death grip.

I was leaning forward, head up, intentionally looking where I wanted Dama to go rather than down at her.  Focused, but not narrow or tense or questioning whether she would stop at some point.

I had, now that I think about it, relinquished control of "how" we got there.

I was simply riding.

The more I connected with my body, the more I connected with Dama.
Next thing I knew, we were in a full gallop.
I felt like I was riding a magic carpet through the woods.


And yet it wasn't a high adrenalin excitement.
No heart racing.
Just freedom.
If I'd been in my head, instead of in my body, it would have been totally different.

If I'd been trying to control the outcome, I would have missed the magic.  

Without the delusion that I can woman-handle a thousand pound galloping animal, I was free.

Then Dama stopped right where I envisioned she would.  With a simple intentional adjustment in the saddle and respectful grip on the reins, we slowed to a walk and together stood at the top of the hill breathing.

In our bodies.  Smiling.  Ready to go again.

In Truth & With Love,




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