I really shouldn’t surprise me that riding a horse has made me feel good for the first time in weeks. I mean, it was my only goal in life, ever: Get a horse. Ride.
(But first, I would like to thank everyone who reached out to me after my last, dark post. Thank you to each and every one of you – you know who you are! As an update to that, I am in the process of changing my wonderful brain-chemistry-altering medication and have also had blood work done to see if there may be a physical cause for my utter despair and extreme fatigue.)
So, today I reached a milestone in my riding career. I rode the Piaffe! Now, to those of you who regularly ride highly schooled horses and compete in Grand Prix Dressage, this may not seem like a big deal. Well, it is to me! Granted, neither me nor the horse could hold it for very long because we are both too unfit and to be truthful I peed my pants a little bit. (And it was only somewhat due to the excitement of it all, and mostly because of my pregnancy-ravished body) Either which way, it does rather mess up one’s concentration!
Since losing my precious Babaki, I have had a long internal struggle regarding my own ethics and “using” animals for pleasure or sport. I know that there are people (especially in the international arena) that believe the Sport of Dressage is a cesspit of blatant animal abuse and sometimes I have my own doubts- particularly when big money gets involves it gets extremely tricky. But a couple of weeks ago I went to watch the annual Musical Kur Festival – freestyle dressage to music. It has always been my favourite event and I just love the idea of music and horse being blended into a spectacular artwork!
As I walked around the massive new competition venue with blaring speakers and horses and people, I just realised once again that I love this world. I love the competition, the drama, the bitchiness and the cliques among the dressage queens, riding in top hat and tails, immaculately turned out horses that have been honed into athletes. I just love it!
I love the fact that these horses are all jumping around and threatening to go into full flee-mode at the slightest provocation – proper prima donnas – but as soon as they set hoof into the arena, they become “all business”. They know their jobs and I wouldn’t presume to know how they feel about doing a job, but they do it so well. And possibly for no other reason than – because we ask them to! How can you not love an animal that noble?
I cannot vouch for the sport as a whole, and I cannot vouch for every person competing. But the fact is that there are as many, if not more, casual, non-competing riders and horse owners who are every bit as guilty of abuse and/ or neglect. I will continue to ride and I will continue to love it.
Enter Lord Ballymore. He is probably the horse I should have had 20 years ago to teach me the skills I wanted to have had by now. Never mind, there is still time to learn. Besides, I also didn’t have the wonderful instructor and mentor I have now, so I might have been wasted on me in any case. Thanks Gail!
Bally is a rather opinionated fellow and those among us who believe horses are only “animals” responding to what they learn, ought really to meet this fellow! He has quite the sense of humor! There isn’t a mean bone in his body, but that doesn’t mean he is not continually trying me out for size, taking the mickey, or telling me what I’m doing wrong.
It has taken me a while to get my head around him and I will admit, at one stage I thought we would not get along, but the wee white horse has crept into my heart. And after today, that feeling….that feeling is why I do this. That sense of accomplishment when everything falls perfectly into line – even if only for a moment!