Back In The Saddle
We work so hard in our lives to ‘get it right’.
At work. At home. With our kids. With our husbands or wives. In sport.
… in all our relationships. In everything we do. We want to get it right.
Committed through it all to high ideals and emotional fulfillment.
We have faith through the challenges that we will find that right moment. That right moment that tells us we just turned the corner.
When we do get it right… so often – all-of-a-sudden, and from out-of-nowhere, it is just plain overwhelming.
In my very personal world, every day I suit up, and we tack up. I climb into the saddle. I tug at the bit to confirm our connection. Then guide with my calves and inner thighs, and the turn of my eyes and head to what lies on the path in front of us.
With respect, affection and empathy I look to my partner in his footing to understand his language. We study each other. We listen to each other. We share what’s going on with us in the moment.
There are days that are frustrating. Days where our coping skills are put to the test. We might get angry with ourselves. We will likely laugh. We sometimes cry. We push to get as far as we can that day. As much as we’re capable of. And then we dismount. Walk to the barn together. Put our tack away and call it a day.
The next afternoon, again, we suit up, tack up… climb back into the saddle.
Its faith and love that keep us connected. Great faith in our relationship. Deep love for the being below us committed to bringing flight to our wings.
I fell in love the moment I first saw Gary. I knew in my soul we would be together. That was over three years ago now. These past three years we have worked the flat – literally hundreds of hours. We have jumped the jumps – literally hundreds of jumps. We have set out on adventures to countless shows covering thousands of miles.
In every moment we’ve worked at ‘getting it right’. Though we never really have. Gotten it right that is. And we’ve never given up.
Gratefully, he doesn’t have the personality you can get angry at. We’ve both been frustrated by one another… often. We’ve been scared – together, and for one another. We’ve had days where we’ve said some things or treated one another in ways that made us sad.
Most importantly. We’ve listened to one another. We’ve heard each other’s breathing. We’ve heard each other’s grunts. We’ve heard each other’s signals and aids.
We’ve studied one another – intently… every touch, twitch, flicker.
We’ve shared — lots of ‘solo piano’ on Spotify. Lots of funny moments with scary monsters lurking in the bush. Lots of stories about days both good and bad. Some tears. Plenty of laughs and mischief. We’ve felt one another with long hugs, soft whispers, and just resting at the rail looking out on the horizon.
And then came yesterday afternoon…
Yesterday something quite unexpected happened.
Though we’ve practiced for it for hundreds of hours – yesterday… in the arena we found our wings… and we just flew.
These years of listening, and studying, and sharing, and practicing… these years of frustration, and anger, and tears and laughter… it all came together yesterday – and together we flew.
It started like normal, with peppermints and apples, and giggles and kisses. After a lighthearted review of our day we were in the arena soon after, finding a fluid trot, that built to a gorgeous canter. We took jump after jump. Challenging 4 strides to 5 strides to triple lines marked with meters and meter ten’s, with flying lead changes in the mix at critical moments. We were the same being. We were one. Together. Breathing in one measured rhythmic pace. One two one two one two one two…
Laughing and hooting with each bounce into air together.
We were magic.
Like so many moments in our lives, it was a moment we had worked hard on… worked toward – that I privately thought would never happen. I hadn’t given up, but I had given up on believing that moment would come. That magic. That kind of magic just wouldn’t be ours. I had found myself in a happy place of loving and respecting and enjoying the work. The path. Each other. The journey we’ve shared. Regauging my expectations for what we might accomplish. And then out of nowhere, this magical moment happened.
I am reminded…
I am reminded how magical our relationships are. How we don’t give up. How we have faith. How, no matter how perfect and not-so-perfect… frustrating… thrilling… angry… sad… happy – our days are in all our relationships – we stick it out.
We don’t give up. We have faith.
We are there to the other side. To the end. Eight jumps or eighteen. Tight roll backs and long paced lines. Through the easy fun times of warm ups and clinics with our barnmates. And through the challenging difficult times of being thrown out of the saddle flying 25’ to land on your head – helmet in place, with the wind taken from your lungs, gasping for air.
If for no other reason, when we’ve exhausted all our reasons, we know there is a chance… that a magical moment… will happen.
Its only because we stayed the path, that the moment resonates ever more deeply. Finding the fullest place in our hearts and our souls we had forgotten was a part of us.
The singular and the mutual ‘us’.
In this moment we have a feeling of ‘perfection’ that is undefinable.
Three years of work for forty minutes of magic.
And I would do it all again.
Exactly the same way.