Ecogold has this great video out right now, and my horse Pippi makes a cameo with the words “My Horse Keeps me Grounded” as the caption. When asked “what does your horse do for you?”, that was my response, but gosh there is so much in those words.
When I first decided to go from passenger to rider, I thought I would jump and do Hunter Jumpers like my daughter and our horse Pippi. I took a handful of lessons, and even jumped a small cross-rail a time or two. But then Pippi bowed a tendon at a show, and her jumping days were over. Which meant that my jumping days were over. Pippi, and that tendon, keeps me grounded. But Pippi also keeps me grounded in an emotional sense as she reminds me of what is important.
I arrive at the barn a knot of tension and stress, and she reminds me that all that stuff is arbitrary and abstract and that what really matters is time. And treats, but mostly time. The more I rush around the slower she goes. The harder I tug on her legs to clean out her hooves, the more she leans on them. The speed at which I move towards her with the bridle determines the height of her head. Direct proportion. The harder and quicker I tug on her girth, the bigger she gets. Pippi is a loud horse, she communicates very clearly and gets her point across succinctly and without fail. “You can’t rush this,” she says and makes any hurry I have into a game of evasion. When I finally break and say “Come ON PIPPI!” she bumps me and sighs loudly. “Stop human, your’ time’ means nothing to me,” she says and waits for however long it takes to make me relax. When she hears my exhale, and knows that I have given up, she rewards me with a muzzle bump and leans in for a hug. And then she wrinkles her nose to signal it’s once again treat time.
Pippi keeps me grounded. She is teaching me not to jump, on a horse or anywhere. Don’t jump, just take it easy, stay on the ground. Live and be present.