I probably should come out of my “equestrian closet”. If you knew me and my family before 2011 when we moved so San Antonio you will probably scratch your head and wonder, “I don’t remember them ever talking about having horses.” When Craig’s job moved us to the Alamo region I declared I was “going to learn to ride a horse”. If we compare the initial idea of what I imagined “riding a horse” would be like to what we do now, well, it would resemble what Dorothy experienced waking up in Oz. I had no idea this culture existed, nor the journey I would have to take to learn what home means to me. (duh…the barn)
I calculated six months of lessons would give me independence on a horse and then I’d enjoy a lot of personal alone time with my new equine friend. I imagined the exuberance of freedom riding in a field, oneness, fun, nature, outdoors, and introvert rejuvenation. If you know horses, then that’s like saying you’ll practice surgery after your first year of pre-med. I will sum it up and skip the yellow brick road anecdotes from “learning to ride” to “moving to Wellington” with this:
I have spent more of myself learning to ride than I imagined I had to give. After six years of three lessons a week I am able to say: I have some basic skills and it isn’t embarrassing for others to see me ride. Compare that to the truth that I could have spent a less amount of time, energy and funds to earn a PhD. However, I’d be an expert with that degree, and as it is with horses, I’m still considered a beginner.
And so it goes for life mixed up with horses. We learn not to be an expert but to be open, aware, present and ever interested in learning. There’s no arrival or degree, only the daily serving of humble pie. The hook and daily take away is a sensation of deep stirring within after having had a memorable and significant conversation with my horse spoken in the language of awareness and touch. It’s the equestrian secret stimulant and it creates addicts.
Now, we find our family packing up our life, loading up horses and hauling across the country for three days. I will often let people believe it is all for Jack to pursue his talent in dressage. I’m not that self-sacrificing. This Wellington adventure is as much for my interest and education in the Equine Oz as it is for Jack to train with Lendon Gray for three months. He’s on the verge of tapping into significant “knowing” and I’m convinced she is the guide in his emerald city.
This morning our little 12 hand Princess Buttercup stepped into her stall on a Semi truck and she’ll beat us to Wellington. Kira is horsey too and happy not to leave her best friend behind. My sweet pony was scared and it broke my heart. I couldn’t hold back the tears. Retama Equestrian Center has been our family and home in San Antonio for longer than we’ve lived anywhere. Leaving our trainers, friends and their horses is heartbreaking. And truth be told, I’m a little nervous about hauling this far. This week the horses have had their teeth filed, their feet trimmed and shod and today they enjoyed an adjustment from the chiropractor. Tomorrow morning Jack and I hook up the trailer early in the morning and head to Baton Rouge where we have a “horse-motel”. Now, you will maybe see I’m not kidding when I compare this equine culture to Oz. I hope there’s a wizard behind the curtain in Wellington who can transform me into the rider I know I can be.