Life Lessons from the Pony Farm

March 23, 2014 at 8:39 pm (Freedom, Health, Letting go, Life skills or hacks, Polo) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Sometimes it is important to question your own motives. I ride horses because of a life long love of horses and I find it to be the greatest exercise which never feels like punishment.

I’ve had fitness trainers with great results but I always felt like the gym was filled with chemical cleaners, sweat and an air conditioning system which should be cleaned a bit more often. Not a natural way to fitness. So last year after a tete a tete with the black dog of the death world I was determined to find a more natural way to stay fit. I use fit loosely to mean healthy and able to do all I want to do and avoid illness, not enter a fitness challenge.

I literally fell into playing polo and from day one was deep sweating the kind of cellular detox neither hiking mountains nor running is capable of providing. I know I used to do both regularly. I still hike for communal reasons but gave up running because frankly it is not healthy over time. O I can see the outrage in the runner’s eyes as they read this but ask any old runner how their knees and hips are.

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Yeah yeah I hear you all thinking how can a sport that has a very real danger of being thrown off, clocked by a ball or mallet be safer? It is because you train to minimize those risks and accept that full throttle living involves calculated risk. Now let me assure you I am no fan of coming off a horse for any reason so I work out on my horse as well as take lessons from not one but two highly respected trainers here in my neck of the woods. When I ride my own horse often it is for only a half hour bareback trotting with a harness only. No bridle no stirrups. This forces me to work the proper muscles and sit in my seat in a way which maintains balance and builds muscle memory. Riding my horse is much more fun than any gym. Period. Fresh air, sunshine, the sounds of birds in my ears and communicating with my horse for maximal performance. A horse is not a machine. It is a living breathing thinking , spiritual being. If it does not like you or your energy you are going nowhere you want and may find yourself on the ground after flying across  a bridle path.

I know why I play polo and ride horses. because I love it. I’m not out to prove anything to anyone least of all you. I want to find peace in my day and if you are a horse person you know they often have the answer to your worldly problems. Listen and they will give you the secrets of the ages. Ignore them and you are just another person who is afraid of or dislikes horses. They don’t bullshit you like your human friends who want to make you feel good about yourself. They whisper it like it is. Period. They don’t know how to do otherwise.

Recently in one of my equitation classes there was a woman who wanted to ride a horse who is a bit above her experience level. This is a champion horse who requires an experienced rider. I do not feel qualified to ride this handsome gelding but this woman had something to prove …to someone. So this lesson was all about trotting out of stirrups, standing while trotting and controlled tight circles while doing all of the above. I was on a normally sweet mare who was a little crazy as she was in heat. I’m okay with a little crazy as a hopped up horse can teach you all kinds of lessons in keeping quiet hands, and remaining calm while they buck and just calming them without reacting. We were not cantering or galloping today.

While our trainer was working with me on standing and neck reining, the other woman decided to take her horse for a canter around the arena as we had on another day. She went faster and faster until we heard the distinctive thud of someone hitting the ground. She had not payed attention to her diagonal and when her smarter than her horse wanted to correct his stride he threw his head up to get room for his front legs to make a flying change. She mistook his action and began pulling on him  with her hands and arms flailing instead of keeping them quiet. Result she lost her already precarious balance and went flying.  Luckily she did not hit the metal rails. She has a black and blue behind and hopefully a new respect for her equine friend. Was I surprised? Not really. She had ignored the basics and wanted to prove something resulting in her own pain.

I don’t want to be that gal so I tend to err on the side of being conservative. I underestimate my ability and constantly work on being better than the day before. Not better than you or someone else, just better than I was before. It is the only measure which matters. I have my own personal goals for my horsemanship and they don’t even involve competitions although if that is your measure of how much better you have become in your passion rock on!

I wrote this for me but if you have enjoyed any part that is a bonus for us both. Go out and be your best and don’t worry about telling the world they will figure it out in time if you keep on in your dogged pursuit of being your best you. Some of the most incredibly talented people I know you may never have heard of because rather than talking about themselves or their skills they are busy honing them. Sure the American way would tell them to brand themselves and tell the word to make a million, but there is something very appealing about folks who are doing amazing things in their own lives out of the limelight. Anthony Robbins teaches the skills of life mastery because we have forgotten in our culture. He isn’t a guru or a life coach in his approach but rather someone who is here to give you permission to live your greatest life. Time to work on something bigger than a million$ bucks.

Find a passion that isn’t about making money and watch what happens to your financial life. There is an inverse relationship to doggedly pursuing a career and pursuing the quality life you imagine riches will provide. Pursue your best you and …let me know what happens. When the light bulb goes on you won’t be able to turn it off.

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