Saturday, March 4, 2017

Easy Days

My boys are bored of the barn.

They’d say that out loud if “bored” wasn’t a banned word in our house.

Although my daughter rides twice a week, I require her two brothers to come only on Tuesday evenings. On those days, we rush from school to the barn, my daughter pulling on breeches, boots, and half-chaps in the car. I know these days she can change in front of them are numbered; she’s nearly ten and changing requires at least one hissed “Don’t look this way!”

To the boys, Lorelei does the same thing every Tuesday evening. Same evening. On the same pony. In the same ring. Sometimes the pattern over the poles or fences is different, but to them it looks pretty much the same. And, to use the b-word again, it often looks pretty boring to them. The same could be said of their chosen sport, whatever it is at the moment, but they are each stuck in their own age-appropriate, self-absorbed little world—and horses are only part of their world because their sister rides them. (To be fair, they are pretty good about helping—my five year old can pick hooves like a champ.)

But I ride, too. For better (usually) or worse (sometimes) I know what I’m talking about when it comes to horses.

The beauty of me riding is that I see the subtleties in these Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings. I'm not remotely close to being bored; on the contrary, I love watching Lorelei ride. 

Like all sports, there are so many great life lessons to draw out of horseback riding. One of my favorites is definitely this idea that it sure looks like the same stuff day after day, but somehow there’s a challenge in making the trot a little better, a little more energetic, a little more put together.

As Lorelei moves from walking and trotting, warming up herself and her pony to jumping a course of small, vertical fences at a nice, even canter, I see that it's the sort of day when things are effortless. She's making it look easy out there, keeping her pony cantering through the turns and over the fences with a little stretch over the fence rather than a short, choppy stride that looks and feels ugly. I ride that same pony on Thursday mornings, so I know full well how much leg is required, and I know Lorelei is doing a great job.

Next Tuesday night or Saturday morning the same exact course might be three times as hard. Who knows why? Maybe the pony will be having an extra-lazy day. Maybe Lorelei will be more tired or less patient. Maybe the it'll be raining and the sound of the rain on the tin roof will cause the pony to jump, causing Lorelei to be nervous. Those are all things that Lorelei will have to ride through, just as we all have to ride through the not-so-perfect parts of our life, our days...our hours, sometimes. 

But those days will make days like today, where everything is easy and fun and positive, be appreciated all the more.


Jennifer Laffin said...

This brought back memories of the riding lessons my daughter took for many years. I loved watching her ride because I knew she loved riding -- and so did the horse.

Anonymous said...

I have 2 girls and a boy. We had dancing, horse riding and soccer and it was always necessary for someone to have to wait and makeup games to pass the time whilst the other was enjoying their thing. There was a moment when I thought I could get them all to do swimming, all at the same time. But, I didn't and I too loved watching them master their sport.