With the rush of the holidays passed, I can once again keep my blog more active. I hope that all of you who read this had a joyous time with your family and friends, no matter which holiday in December that you celebrate.
This fall, and now, winter has been about change for me. It is time to put "Adria" first in many ways. Guin will be 17 in the spring and she no longer needs me as much, so I can begin to form my 'own' life after spending the past 26 years being a mom.
To that end I have begun taking lessons again. Not just riding lessons, which are wonderful, but also driving lessons. And I am having a blast!
Driving a horse might, at first blush, seem less intimate a relationship compared to riding one. After all, the only connection you have with the horse that you are driving is through the reins and bit. But let me assure you that this connection is an intense one, and the feedback...the communication...that occurs from horse to driver and back again, through those reins is deep, committed, and fabulous.
Marcy Baer, of Briar Hill Farms, is my instructor, and I could not possibly ask for one that is better, or more committed to having me get the most out of my lessons. She teaches more than skill, but enjoyment as well, which makes it all worth it to my way of thinking. You can read/learn more about her at her website: http://www.bryhyl.homestead.com/home.html I will be forever indebted to her for sharing her love and skills with me. I also am thankful to Susan Cook, who's horse, Bryhyl Aryel, I get to drive. Aryel is also a wonderful teacher.
Yesterday, during my lesson, Marcy shared with me the three things one needs in working with a horse: relaxation, rhythm, and contact. Once all of these are achieved well, the lesson, for both horse and rider/driver goes well. It was interesting to note that as I worked on achieving these with Aryel, I also worked on achieving these within myself. The more relaxed I became, the more relaxed Ayrel became; the better my focus on her rhythm, the more I could set my body within Ayrel's rhythm; the more secure, yet soft, my connection through the reins, the better the communication became.
All of this led to a state that, for me, was akin to Nirvana. A oneness with Ayrel whereby the slightest move of my hand, contraction of my arm muscle, or even a turn of my torso caused a response in her direction. My breathing deepened, and I felt truly connected to her, as if we were one being traveling together through the sand of the arena, negotiating the cones.
At the end of the lesson, Marcy pointed out to me that Ayrel had created that foam around the bit, that indicated she too had received pleasure from our interaction. A horse who is relaxed and bent properly at the pole, will salivate and create foam around the bit. Only a horse who is in a "zen" state during that time will create the foam. It seems I am making progress in my driving, afterall.