When Life Hands You Lemons, Go Ride a Horse!

Photo taken by me as I enjoy a few moments of peace with my Syd.

It’s been a rough year for eventers. Hurricanes, both horse and rider fatalities, fires … Heck, it’s been a rough year for everyone. Me included. Earlier this evening my husband’s father passed away. He had battled quite a few health problems over the years, but the cancer that took him from us was quick. Less than a week after his diagnosis, and he is already gone. In typical blogger fashion, it really got my mind to spinning.

There are a couple of great commercials on television right now about the human condition. One is about all the crazy things we do that don’t turn out quite like we planned; the other is about how being human takes guts. One is humorous, the other is oh so true. It does take guts to be human. Life is tough, but it’s also good.

Being an eventer takes guts, too. Like being human it’s tough, but it’s also good. One of the best things about being an eventer (and a human) is being able to partner with these amazing animals that give us so much of themselves and ask so very little in return. (Unless of course, you’re my partner Syd who requires an ample abundance of spearmints at all times.) As a human, when life gets tough, as it did for me this week, I turn to the three “f’s” for support: family, friends and faith. As an eventer, I also turn to my horse.

I believe it was Winston Churchill who said, “There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.” This statement has never been more true than when you are going through a tough time. There is just something so comforting about looking through life from between the ears of your horse or burying your face in the soft fur of his neck, arms wrapped around and through his mane. If you’re an eventer or a horse person, you know EXACTLY what I’m talking about. For a brief few moments in our crazy human existence, the cares and struggles of the world actually seem to disappear, or at the very least fall away.

It is in those brief moments of peace that I am able to pause, reflect, cry or just simply breathe. I may not be able to solve the world’s problems or even my own problems, for that matter. My “horse” time may not even change anything. It certainly cannot change the death of a loved one. But what it can do, is give me clarity; give me strength; give me hope. Hope is what keeps human beings human and hope is what keeps us going. Horses are the masters of giving us hope.

If you spend very much time around me at all, you will at some point hear me quote a movie. I love movies almost as much as I love eventing. There is a line in a kind of cheesy, guilty pleasure movie called Center Stage that speaks volumes to me. The movie is about ballet dancers at a very competitive dance academy. At one point an instructor puts her hand on the ballet barre and tells a struggling student, “Here. Here is where you find your center, yourself …” (my paraphrase, but you get the idea). That’s what my horse does for me. He helps me find my center, myself. And as he stands at the fence and waits for me to pull out of the driveway before he walks away, my heart is able to manage a smile, even in the midst of a tough situation.

So the next time life hands you lemons, go ride your horse. Somehow I just know it will make you feel better if only for a moment.

Go eventing!