“I don’t ever want to look back on a ride and think I wish I'd enjoyed that more.” -Anna Blake, Equestrian and Author
There are dozens of distractions that could keep me from truly enjoying my riding time.
Last Saturday it was the flies. Those huge horseflies that are immune to fly-spray and always land where I can’t quite reach in the middle of Sportie’s rump. Unless I squash them they will keep coming back. I try to reach them and sometimes succeed, but then the trick is to hit them hard enough to kill them without making Sportie think that I’m smacking him to make him gallop off with me. That is very tricky indeed.
And of course there’s always something I need to work on. Whether it’s a buck-free transition or merely making sure Sportie doesn’t cut corners, some sort of lesson plan is required of my saddle time. I endeavor to deal with any problems that need to be dealt with and then let them go. It’s important to begin and end on a happy note, and try to stay happy through the duration.
As we ride, we must purposely control the things we need to focus on and sweep everything else out of our minds, to be dealt with at a later time. Many of us put a lot of time, muscle and money into what some may dismissively call a “horse hobby” but I call my lifeline. Two years ago, when I was “between horses” for two months, was one of the most miserable times of my life. To once again be able to ride, to appreciate being suspended between heaven and earth, spine to spine with Sportie, is similar to plugging in my tablet when it’s down to 5% and watching it climb back to 100% again. I remind myself of that each time I mount up.
And so now I always try to ride in awareness, in the moment, and then I get to dismount saying “Thank you, Sportie, for a great ride,” meaning every word.