Joy

There’s an old Spanish saying that states; “When I am on my horse, only God is taller than I.

I thought about the saying on my rainy drive home tonight. It’s one of those things that sinks through in layers.

Yesterday, before the rain and after a busy day of teaching, I managed to take one of our project horses out for a training ride. I had my trusty cadre of teenage girls saddle up as well. The jumps were up in the arena and we set out with a plan to tackle the course.

I should add that it’s been a heck of a month. Short days and bad weather and a nasty cold that keeps kids in bed for over a week have wreaked havoc on our lesson income. There are two major fundraisers looming and hundreds of hours of work to be done with volunteers counting on me to deliver information and projects to them correctly and on time. There’s 16 horses needing care and new and eager volunteers to train. I feel like I’m pulled in many, many directions and I’m still letting people down – this is a feeling not conducive to restful sleep by the way.

But for just that 45 minutes after the last lesson was over and before evening chores needed to get started and hatches battened down for yet another rain storm, I got to ride.

Photo by Merida Wilson

Within minutes, the sagging budget is forgotten, the backlog of bills and phone messages from parents canceling yet another lesson are locked in my office. At least for now. As this young horse and I start to warm up, I can feel that he’s keen to play and rather than force him into some kind of a working frame, I’m game to play with him. In no time I’m squealing with delight. Our young and famously independent OTTB Stanley is taking me to the base of the jump and then leaping not just gracefully but happily over small fences. By the end we are both misted with sweat and I’m draped over his shapely shoulders hugging and patting him.

My “A” team is in the ring with me. Two teens with lovely seats and hands are also riding and sharing in the excitement of a young horse learning and enjoying a new skill. These girls have left behind their teenage lives with college applications, scary doctor appointments, grades, boys and family issues and for this moment we are living and breathing that which is the best of what life can offer.

That old Spaniard, whoever he was, said a mouthful when he said “When I am on my horse, only God is taller than I.

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