Sunday, March 20, 2011

Why Horses?

The other day some friend of my uncle's stopped by our house for some unknown reason. When i was introduced to her she paused a moment and looked at me funny, then asked "your the horse girl aren't you?"
"yes ma'am that's me" She then relaxed a little bit. "i never rode horses, but i wanted too. do you ride cowboy style?" "no ma'am i ride dressage, the saddle doesn't have a horn, and its kind of like ballet but on a horse" Blank stare. "we do the feet thing?" "Oh yes!!! the feet thing!! yeah" points at my uncle. "he told me about the feet thing!! what are your plans for riding?" "Well this summer I'm going to be a working student in Mississippi, and next summer I'm moving to England to ride there." She paused and her eyes got really wide.

"why in the world would you do something like that? you'll throw your life away!!"

I couldn't speak. I just stared at her. throw my life away, is that what she thinks I'm doing?
And the alternative is what? go to LSU like everyone else in my family. Become a nurse like everyone else is in my family. and stay here all my life popping out grandchildren.

So why am i moving thousands of miles away, across an ocean to ride horses? There are horses here.
Whats so special about dressage anyway? Wouldn't i rather stay here and have kids?

What is passion? no really what is it, why does it make us feel like we do? Why do people turn their backs on what society wants and devote their lives to horses? It can't be the money. As one of my friends so wisely put it "in order to make a small fortune in horses, you need to start with a large fortune." Why do people throw their money away to spend their lives with animals that only live about twenty years.
It cant be the fame. If theres one thing I've learned from horses its humility, and i promise you, i have a thick head and you can't imagine how many times I've been thrown onto my thick head for that lesson to sort of stick with me. It can't be because its a good investment for our futures, if there was a horseback riders nursing home the conversations would go something like this "hey Courtney how are you today?" "just fine
Guenter, except I'm really feeling that time my horse threw me and i fractured my skull" "aww really? I'm sorry, if it makes you feel any better i woke up this morning and could hardly get out of bed, my pelvis is acting up again!! must be from that fall" "oh hey Janet how are you?" -muffles something from body cast-  "eventers, they just don't quit do they?" Because lets face it, besides extreme sky diving and rock climbing sheer cliffs, there's really not much that's more dangerous than riding horses.
It has to be something else.

For me its because, i feel freedom.
Pure unadulterated freedom. Freedom i can't get anywhere else.
Not at school. Not at the mall. Not a dance. Not a party. Not with a boyfriend, because come on girls, we all know boys are more of a hobby we have when Not riding horses anyway.

I me. Like I'm a whole person, and not that shadow that goes to school and goes to the mall to look at clothes, which unfortunately is a necessary evil, Dover doesn't sell any kinds of pants i could wear to school. Even though i would love to go to school in my riding pants, because then i could just go straight to the barn after school and save tons of time.

When i went to the private christian bubble school, they had a speaker come talk to us one day about being ourselves and that we shouldn't attach "ourselves" to any earthly thing. then they asked us to define ourselves and write it on a piece of paper. I stared at that piece of paper for half an hour through the rest of the talk. Finally i realized the word i was looking for. All that piece of paper said when i turned it in was "horse" Because i feel closer to God on the back of my horse out in a field then i do anywhere else on the planet. I feel like there's a wall between me and God when my feet are on the ground. That must be how serious pilots feel. And rock climbers. And divers.

It's not that i placed my being on my horse's shoulders. Its that it was already there. I grew up with them. However I'm not going to claim my first word was horse, it wasn't, it was fan, not sure why but apparently i was fascinated by fans. I always, since before i can remember looked at horses and saw myself reflected. Even now that I'm a teenager and the boy hobby has taken up a little of my brain, and school has taken up even more. Every time i see a beautiful horse, i can't breathe. Doesn't matter how many times I've seen that horse up close, when they start moving i feel like some one's punched my stomach and knocked the wind out of me. Even if we're driving and i see a horse in a field i still turn around to look, and wonder what kind of riding they are trained for. Looking at double bridles, all shiny and clean makes my heart leap.
There's something exotic about horses. The long forelocks and tails, the arched necks. The Floaty movements they have. The way they run and buck when their excited.

There's a song by Lily Allen called "The Fear" and one of the lines is "I'll look at the sun and I'll look in the mirror I'm on the right track yeah we're on to a winner". The real lyrics should be "I'll look at my horse and I'll look in the mirror I'm on the right track yeah we're on to a winner"  Because isn't that what we really want?
To be able to show off who we are without being a whore. Horses have perfected being exotic and classy all at the same time. Some humans have even gotten close to it, for example Audrey Hepburn or Princess Diana (both women mind you, sorry guys)

We want freedom. Freedom that the normal world cant give us. You could drive around in this landscape all day long, and it will never be as beautiful as if you were looking at it from the back of a horse.
You will never, i repeat never go as fast in a car as you can on a horse. No I'm not basing that conclusion on MPH, I'm basing that on personal experience. I've gone almost 100 mph in a car and galloping my horse felt twice as fast. Cars give no freedom, horses do. Instead of looking at your surroundings you are interacting with them. You feel the wind, you smell the grass, you hear the horses hoofs against the ground, you see the earth flying under you. In the car you feel the seat, smell the car, hear the radio, see lines on a road.

So where am i going with this? Essentially I'm saying..

"Its okay, you don't have to understand...

Because I do."

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Mary Wanless Clinic

The clinic was so much fun!! i learned so much its ridiculous, i once again realized how messed up my body is when i ride, but in a good way!! I tilt my pelvis back to do a down  transition (big no-no). I was relying too much on my stirrups to post. I was leaning WAY too far back, and numerous other funky shit.
Most of the problems i had fixed by day three and really don't have to think about fixing them all that much anymore, except not tilting my pelvis. Which two weeks later i have finally figured out how to not do.
instead of trying to "scoop" my horse to get the transition, i need to anchor my knees and pull my seatbones back (slingshot) and squeeze with my knees. However i also learned that no matter what your doing you have to give your horse a direction and then release!! I can't drag the direction out and expect the transition or movement to be crisp and immediate.
In other words. Tell the horse what to do and get out of their way so they can!!


Yeah i felt real smart about then......

oh well i know now, and its all part of the journey :)

Friday, March 4, 2011

In Which I Light my Horse on Fire.....

India's poor hips were hurting again. However I'd prefer I didn't  pay the ridiculous amount the chiropractic guy charged again, as I'm a broke student. My lovely mother did some research for me while i was studying for algebra II, and found a lady that does chiropractic work and acupuncture.
So she came out last night and started working on indie.
It was so cool to watch, did you know that acupuncture needles are about 6 inches long?? i didn't.
before i continue the rest of the story i have to tell everyone about my pathological fear of needles. I Cry. Everytime. And i might have once kicked my doctor in the nose.......maybe.
Needless to say the horse did much better than me. She didn't like the first one and tried to bite the lady holding her, but after the first one i think she actually enjoyed it (although i wouldn't really know because i couldn't watch her put the needle in)

After all the needles were in, she started to put these little pieces of rolled up paper on the needles and actually lit them on Fire. It's a little nerve racking to see your horse on fire. But after a while i got over myself and started to breathe again. Then she started doing chiropractics and really concentrated on her hips. After she was done, she said that the problem might not be in her muscles but her kidneys.
I'm going to try and explain this the best i can, but i'm no vet. The kidneys get impacted or something and hurts causing the muscles above them to tense up. Other than that i have no idea she started using big medical words that meant nothing to me. Good thing there was a vet tech at the barn that understood, i'll ask her about it later.
She said that giving her a medicine (that i can't for the life of me remember the name of) should flush out the kidneys and then she'll work on her again and relax the muscles. So i really hope this works because i really want her to enjoy work and not dread it.