There is a time. After a long day of work, sitting at a desk in front of the computer counting beans, crunching numbers and putting them all in the proper boxes, after lessons and after chores.

A time when I’m all alone, I saddle up and take up the reins. I’ve taken to calling this the “quiet time.” The only thought; the only goal, is to convince my mare to stay relaxed. We make a million walk – trot transitions. Some she goes off so lovely, soft and happy; others like a wire brush, harsh and choppy.

In this hour we carve out pattern after pattern, keeping everything as light and bright as possible. As I’m brushing her out later I recall the time when my daughter’s only goal was to write her name in ice. She is a figure skater with the first name of MEGHAN not an easy task, but she spent months alone on the ice, at 4 in the morning, trying to accomplish this. I don’t even remember if she did, she was happy just trying.

I concentrate on my breathing. Is this the cause of my mare’s moments of rigidness? We both exhale together. We are all surrounded with crazy. There is this teenager at the barn, a lovely little rider, sometimes I see her really enjoying her ride. Then there is her mother, who sucks the joy out of the young girl’s pleasure with her crazed obsessions.

The mother is insanely concerned about the number of points the girl earns, are they going to the right shows.  She has nonstop concern and worry over what products to put on the horse, should we bleaching the tail, should we shoe or not, what if there is not enough entries at this show for the points to be good…. on and on.  My head bleeds just seeing her arrive.

The softer my mare gets the softer my hands get then snap head up short choppy steps, what!! What did I do this time to cause this? Have you ever wanted to take your thumb and forefinger and thump someone on the helmet brim?

I have this one student. Every time I take her to a show she totally checks out. I stand there talking over a course or running through a test and all I see is a blank stare. I want to go ~Thump! Are you in there at all?  Before I can do anything she either starts to cry or throws up. I ask, WHY!!! Do we do this? This is not brain surgery, there is not a million dollar prize, your placing in this event will not set the wheels of world peace in motion. On the drive home she tells me there is nothing she loves more than showing.

Our work out always starts well and I make sure we end well, sometimes the middle just sucks. But that is what it’s all about, not the end of the road but the journey.

Step back, relax, breath, think soft, be soft. The dance goes on. Take time to leave all the crazy outside the arena.

This is why I do what I do.

Cheryl