"When you feel it in here (your heart),
when you feel for him,
when you feel of him;
the confidence can go down through that body,
or you can take it out.”
- Ray Hunt
This quote spoke to me today, especially the first half of the line, "When you feel it in here (your heart), when you feel for him, when you feel of him..."
I didn't have that feeling for Leah until I started riding her. It's one thing to be on the ground with a horse (and I don't want to take anything away from that), but it's another thing to be on your horse.
Last year, I did an interview with a wonderful horsewoman who advocated no riding, and since then, I've mulled it over and over and over...while continuing to enjoy riding.
I have to say, I think my horses enjoy it, too.
Last Saturday my husband and I went on a trail ride, and when we got back to the trailer, Cowboy wouldn't approach it. He pulled me away from the trailer and back onto the trail. We just started to laugh--this crazy horse wants to keep going! So, we obliged and went back on the trail. Penny was also happy to move back out again.
Horses are curious, athletic, sentient beings. I know they enjoy the new scenery, the movement, and the fellowship as much as we do.
Yesterday I had another lesson with Leah. I'm so proud of her. She's come a long, long way--further than I have, I'm sure! Most of what we did was me sitting back and quieting my legs at the back up, walk forward and turn--getting her to round her back a bit more and put more purpose and energy into her step. For the turn, I was to use my own purpose--no steering and no leg--and she was so sensitive--picked right up on those subtle cues. In fact, I'm not sure what the cues were. Regina told me to think about turning, and Leah turned. I imagine my body was turning a little when I thought about it, and that's what she perceived.
The stop work was interesting, too. I was to sit back and gather up alternating reins a little at a time until she stopped. It was important to stay quiet and not pull back, just these gentle gathers of the rein until she figured it out. Then, when she stopped, I backed her up and moved her out again. After a few times, she was really picking up that those gentle gathers meant to stop.
I'm not sure where all this is going, but I'll let you know when I do.
I find myself daydreaming a lot about Leah now, and wishing I was with her--Beautiful Girl, too, who is still in a stall and gets special daily attention. And, of course, Cowboy.
I feel them all in my heart, as Ray Hunt would say.