Training the Mind of the Horse and Rider

Training the Mind of the Horse and Rider
Click on Logo (Original artwork by Lanie Frick for Messick Quarter Horses. Not permitted to be copied)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Walk

I recently read Richard Paul Evans “The Walk”. A sad story. The man’s wife died from complications of a horseback riding accident. During this same time, he lost his business to a lousy partner, and his home was foreclosed. He thought about suicide, but he stopped himself when he remembered that he promised his wife that he would live.

Alan walked away from everything he knew, literally. He lived in Seattle, Washington, and he determined where in America would be as far from Seattle as he could be. And he drew a line to Key West, Florida. This book is the first in a series about his walk to Key West.

Alan’s mother taught him about God when he was a child. Both before and during the time she was dying of cancer, and I feel that she continued teaching him about God after she was gone. She prayed as if she was talking to a friend in the room. Often, he would open his eyes during her prayers to see if she was talking to someone was in the room. After reading this first book, I could sense his compassion and gracious manner, but apparent only after he began his walk.

“Live.” McKale, Alan’s wife, told him to live as she was dying. The voice told him to live again as he was holding the pills in his hands. He had promised her he would. He cried, he packed a backpack, he had his friend sell his possessions since his home was foreclosed, and he started walking.

He had journals that he had written during his life. He took a blank, leather bound journal with him. He had ‘decided on a destination; the path is just a detail. I have begun my walk.”

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” The saying was written in a Chinese fortune cookie.

We need to start the single step. By choosing a closer destination, one that is achievable in a short time. Everyone is on a journey. Where should we be heading? What should be our first destination?

My journey is with horses. I love trail riding. I rode the hills of PA when I was a kid and I missed doing that for a long time. Riding CTR’s has given me back the terrain and scenery that I miss. Now I’m ready to start some endurance riding. My next step in my journey is to buy an Arab, condition, ride the trails and CTR’s this year, and maybe try 1 or 2 short endurance rides this fall. I just have to wait to see where this journey is taking me.

I’m ready to move on from the memories of the rides with Finny to the rides I’ll have with this new horse that I don’t have yet. I’m looking forward to riding the same fields with a smile on my face. I want to wake in the mornings with a sense of excitement and anticipation of the ride that I will have that day. I am ready to move on.

And I feel that happening. I’m anxious to go outside this afternoon and ride Savannah and Chick. The sun is shining. The outdoor arena is dry. The fields are drying. I’m ready to ride.

Sometimes we don’t now the answers or hear them until we are quiet. Answers come at the strangest of times, from the quiet of the mornings, in the middle of a hail storm, or in the peace of a summer evening. When the timing is right, you will hear the answer.

Don’t give up. Stay on the path. Continue your journey. The book said “the real sign of life is growth. And growth requires pain.” No one, or no pet, or no horse, is ever gone. They will always be with us, in our hearts and in our souls. They also help to make us who we are. Like the book said, we need to choose to remember them with sadness or with gratitude and joy. We find what we are looking for, so look for happiness and fond memories. That is the chose we need to make.

Stop and see what is in front of you. Appreciate what life has for you. See everything with happiness and not with sorrow. Let the life around you show you what your life should be. Does that make sense? Look at your life, look around you, and see your life differently than how you’ve been seeing it. Enjoy your life to the fullest. Appreciate the little things. How many times have we heard that or have been told that. But it is true.

Start the walk. Start or continue the journey. We never know what is in front of us or where we are going if we don’t start walking or looking or listening. Maybe sometimes we just need to wait. Patiently.

“The Walk” is a book about loss and the choice we have to grow from them. We need to continue our journey in life so that we can grow into the person God intended us to be. Walking helped Alan find the peace that he needs. Riding will help me find the peace that I need. Just as Alan met people along the way that he was meant to meet, there are horses in my journey that I am meant to meet.

And I am healing from my loss. The pain is less. I am smiling now.


Tammy said...

Wonderful post, Brenda.

Usually each year I have a horse goal in mind or a special horse vacation. This year I am winging it. I have some rides & camping trips on the horizon but no BIG plans. And I am okay with that. I need to have time to settle a bit again and see where the trail may lead...

Shoofly said...

Very inspiring, Brenda.

Makes me think of an riding instructor who said, "Don't look down at the horse, he's still under you. Look ahead at where you want to be, so he'll know where to take you."

Horses Are Our Lives said...

"so he'll know where to take you." that's right. The horse will take you anywhere you want to go. I just need to get on the next horse and keep going!

thanks, tv and Sheila, for being there.


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