Yesterday was just one of those days. You know–the ones where you feel like you’re running as fast as you can and going absolutely nowhere.
By the time I finished my day-to-day obligations, I had just enough time to speed out off to the barn to teach a 7 o’clock lesson. As my student trotted circles around me, I observed the sun sinking lower in the sky. I observed my horse racing his buddies to the furthest corner of his giant pasture, because I forgot to tell the evening feeder to leave him in. My student was doing a lovely job and I was glad to be helping her; meanwhile, however, my own window for riding was growing smaller by the moment.
After the lesson, I squinted my eyes to see my horse grazing happily on the distant hillside. I considered giving him the day off. I imagined myself picking up dinner on the way home, maybe Chinese, and eating it in front of the television that I never watch. After dinner, I could finally use those bath salts somebody gave me for Christmas (three years ago), or read something not about horses, or just go to bed early.
But instead, I hiked out to fetch the brown spot on the horizon that was my horse.
As soon as I swung my legs over his back, I knew it was the right decision. The fact that it was nightfall only added to the experience–with one sense nearly removed, I could really feel what was going on underneath me, which I can only liken to floating though the dark on a cloud.
As horsepeople, we make endless sacrifices to pursue our passion–some large, some small. But for every gripe over vet bills, groan over a lost shoe or grumbling about training roadblocks, they sure have a knack for coming through for us in unexpected times and in unexpected ways. What I needed last night, even more than a Kung Pao Chicken binge or an extra couple hours of sleep, was a perfect canter lengthening, an obedient shoulder-in, a powerfully swinging back.