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Wednesday, 22 June 2011
'Tis the gift to be simple,
'tis the gift to be free,
'tis the gift to come down where you ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
It will be in the valley of love and delight.

You know those experiences in life~ the ones where you just know that you are in a place just right?
Or that you are in the presence of someone who has come down 'where they ought to be'?
I had that experience last week.
When my daughter had her first riding lesson.
Rowan, Age 2

Rowan has always loved horses.
Not with a passionate 'gotta touch them all' kind of love like she has for dogs~ the bolt across a busy street sort of compulsion.
But with a deeper calmer reverence and a certainty that she would ride some day.
More of a drawing than a yearning, perhaps.

Jester, her beloved spring horse, has been a family fixture for 4 years now, and the inspiration and companion for many, many adventures.  The soundtrack of Rowan's childhood, in my mind, will always include the whinging of those springs.
But now she is 'big enough'.

After considering our limited semi-local options, we consider it a gift to have connected with an experienced coach with a commitment to the horse/human bond first and foremost, followed by excellence in technique and a sense of fun. We were insistent that 'riding' mean more than just that, that it involve the full care and connection with the animal, as well as the riding skills. And of course, safety (having last ridden at age 16 when I was thrown and broke my back! this was not a small consideration for me.).

Having visited the farm, and having good recommendations from both students and other local horsewomen and men, we had the first lesson.

Oh my.
It was wonderful.
As I stood back and watched (with a very attention hungry horse nibbling at my hair and blowing his hot breath down my neck if I stopped petting him) my ~somewhat shy with a tendency to silliness in new situations~ almost 6 year old girl step forward to engage with the very tall Phoenix I was blown away.
 She was so still.
Like down to the soul, still.
Attentive, eager, but careful and oh-so-respectful.
Drinking in all of the information and reveling in the simple tasks of curry combing and hoof cleaning.
In the place just right.

In the valley of love and delight.

If she hadn't ridden, I don't think she would have cared.
To be welcomed into this animal's presence.
To be in his space and to offer him care~ all 45 lbs. of her to his 1/2 ton~ filled her up.
And that she then got to lead him, ride him, direct him with her own words and hands on the reins
(to be fair this big boy is a lamb and knows it all anyway, but he never let on that she wasn't in charge)?
Pure joy.
For child~ the reverent, knowing kind.
For mother~ the face splitting grin kind.
 Standing by that dusty ring with the horseflies biting and the sun beating down, with the sweet smells of hay and dung in the air, a confident and kind teacher (coach and horse) and hearing my little one say with confidence 'Walk on, Phoenix!' surprising both coach and mother as she lead the big sorrel through the open gate and on to the barn all on her own.... awesome.

I anticipate many more hot and dusty hours...
I hope this for my daughter.
The challenge of new skills, the art of balance and communication.
The delight in bonding with an animal and working in partnership.
The discipline of doing something right and well.

It could have been any passion pursued, and there will be others, and maybe this one will pass (she is only turning 6!)... I am just happy she has had that feeling of connecting to her passion, of being in the place just right and the confidence, esteem and joy this brings ~ so that she will know it when she meets it again in her life and will hold it dear and know its worth.
And I am glad I was there to see it!

When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend we shan't be ashamed.
To turn, turn will be our delight,
'Til by turning, turning we come round right


Unknown said...

Aww, that's so beautiful. =)

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