Fat to Fit to First Level: The Right Match

“But, like my friend and her horses, I, too, had to find the courage to be honest, sincere, and humble, and finally admit to my stubborn self that this relationship was not the right one for me. Or for my husband.”

Sam, my first horse. Photo by Esther Roberts.

From the first, I have promised you, the Horse Nation readers, raw honesty. This week is no exception.

Losing a roommate (cue image of a U-Haul, m’kay?) can bring about an odd mix of emotions. On the plus side, you can binge watch your favorite rom-coms and never get complaints over missing “the game” on ESPN. You can stock the pantry with your own favorite foods and not have to sort through the groceries that belonged to the other person. Extra parking space – woo hoo! And all that “independence.” #awesome

On the negative side, there’s no one to split the rent with and the dishes never mysteriously show up clean; nope, those smoothie-encrusted glasses are gonna sit there, baby, til they get washed by y-o-u.

Losing a marriage is like all of the above times a thousand.

Some relationships die a quick and sudden death; a breached trust kills the relationship as quickly as a torsion colic. Some relationships, however, die slowly. Oh, so slowly, like those dreadful neglect cases where the animal starves to death. In my case, two really good people invested years trying everything under the sun to make it work, make it work, make it work. In the end, however, the marriage died. Fortunately, the friendship remains.

What, you may ask, does this have to do with horses, riding, or losing weight?

I am guessing that every one of us who call ourselves equestrians have had that one horse (maybe several) whom we never could quite figure out. That horse who, despite our high hopes and best efforts, never gave us that feeling of, “yep, we’re on the same page.”

Oh, we try hard and don’t give up easily, for sure. We try different bits. We buy different bridles. We call in the vet, the farrier, the dentist, the chiropractor, the acupuncturist, the massage therapist, even the animal communicator, along with a new trainer. Maybe two.

And while we may succeed in making the horse rideable up to a point, the natural flow that occurs in a great riding partnership just never happens.

I have a friend here in Knoxville who has been through the heartbreak of buying her “dream” dressage horse (which she did “by the book,” including several visits, pre-purchase exam, and “all the things”) only to have said brilliant riding prospect turn into waaaaay more horse than my friend wants to ride. One strongly suspects, in this specific case, that her dream horse was drugged by the seller each and every time my friend went to try out the horse. Sad to contemplate, but it happens.

[This particular story has a relatively happy ending, by the way. Another local rider who is very accomplished was looking for a lively, athletic young mount.]

Me and Lady Grace. Photo by Lynn Freeney.

But. Here’s the takeaway point: before the second match could happen, my friend had to admit to herself that her dream horse wasn’t the right horse for her. Her own deep honesty about her riding goals and abilities combined with sincerity and humility, and that trifecta of self-awareness  – honesty, sincerity, and humility – gave my friend the courage to say, “this is not the right horse for me.” (Bonus happy ending: my friend found a wonderful, talented, quieter horse who suits her perfectly!)

Regarding my own situation, the past months of stress and strain have taken a toll. For one thing, my weight loss stalled out until the “it’s over” conversation happened a few weeks ago. But, like my friend and her horses, I, too, had to find the courage to be honest, sincere, and humble, and finally admit to my stubborn self that this relationship was not the right one for me. Or for him.

I am giving myself a little grace these days, to reflect and heal. I even gave myself exactly one day to eat anything I wanted and in any amount. One day. Then back on track. I have more weight to lose and I am determined to lose it.

I thought about not writing about my divorce. I wondered if it’s just too personal, or too far removed from anything related to horses. But then I remembered:  horses are amplifiers. They amplify every emotion we are feeling. So we owe it to our horses, and to ourselves, to be open and honest about where we are in life and within ourselves. Such deep truthfulness lies at the core of health, healing, and horsewomanship.

Kaliwohi. Photo by Paige Kirkland.

Join me on this journey on Facebook: Fat to Fit at Horse Nation (page and group), and my blog www.appalachianchic.com.


Go riding.

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