“In riding a horse we borrow freedom.” – Helen Thomson
Parents of adopted children, and sometimes of pets, often choose to celebrate their “Gotcha!” Day, as in “the day I got you." Mine and Sportie’s is December 27. I searched long and hard for just the right quote to properly pay tribute to a second year of having Sportie in my life, and finally decided on Helen Thomson’s wise words. I would expand them by saying “In riding a horse, in grooming him, in feeding him, in leaning into him, we borrow freedom.”
The hours I spend with Sportie are completely free of worry, frustration or disappointment. He is my escape from the various demands of life, the unanswered questions, the regrets of the past and the uncertainty of the future. Naturally the combination of fresh air and exercise factor into my feelings of respite, but Sportie is the common denominator.
He has taught me so much about riding responsibly, with consistency and clarity, in the past two years. He has taught me that if I cue calmly and give him time to respond, he will give the right answer. There is no room in his space for hurried demands. He has taught me the beauty in the partnership of riding, where it’s not just any horse and rider. It’s Sportie and me.
His mane has caught my many tears, both sad and happy ones, some shed while I have breathlessly nursed his various booboos resulting from pasture play, some worse than others, all worthy of my fussing.
I can still remember our introduction two years ago. “You’ll be riding Sport today,” my co-stablehand Connie smiled, pointing out a stately gelding, his gorgeous white-splattered face highlighting his bottomless black eyes. “He’ll be your horse to ride from now on after our chores are done.” His gaze unblinkingly met mine and I melted.
Best. Christmas. Present. Ever.