It’s difficult to define some feelings. Alternatively, it’s easy to mislabel what you’re feeling because it’s difficult to find a word to describe it. Or, you don’t know the word. There are all kinds of terms that describe emotion, like the strangeness that accompanies a good rainstorm. I wish there was a word to describe the magic I feel when a ride goes right.

I was charmed, the other day, by the weather. That’s how it began, a Tuesday afternoon. Sunny, 78 degrees, and veiled by a beautiful, deep blue Carolina sky. The wind was cool, making my t-shirt and breeches ensemble feel like just enough. The very air itself almost tasted good it was so clear.

Without a long list of obligations that afternoon, I found myself lost in the routine of grooming and tacking Sam. He enjoyed the slow-moving spa session, falling asleep on the cross ties more than once. It was nice to see him so relaxed, as if he was more than happy to be in this place at this very time. We made our way to the arena, casually strolling through the grass so he could characteristically stretch and pee on the way.

I don’t know if it’s because we took our time, or because the weather was just right, or because of divine intervention. I don’t know where the basis for this magic came from, but I sure felt it. Everything clicked in just the right way.

Sam was willing. He listened to my aids, answered all my questions, and brought a wonderful willingness to the ride. Sometimes, simple training rides or hacks around the ring feel monotonous. Like you’ve done this a hundred times, and there’s nothing exciting about it. There are days when you head to the barn with a plan for your ride. Maybe you’re going to work on your simple changes, or maybe you’ve got an exercise in mind for how to strengthen your horse’s left side. Armed with your plan, you head out there to groom, tack up, and ride.

Sometimes, it all feels like a dream. Every step floats, every transition is fluid, and every breath you take together. All things add up, and you have a recipe for a magic spell that leaves you feeling positively lovely. Positively lovely doesn’t really do the feeling justice, but again… it’s one of those feelings you feel, but don’t have a word to define.

So, instead, I call it magic. I wish there was a word to better describe the peacefulness that comes with a great ride. I wish there was a way to better tell someone who doesn’t ride horses how it feels when things come together. Instead, I’d love to suggest they get on the back of a horse and feel it for themselves. That’s not exactly practical, I know, but what an incredible thing it would be to watch someone else’s face light up when they feel that magic.