I’m in awe of horses. Their sheer size, strength, agility. The way they seem to look right into your soul. I love to watch their muscles work, their tails swish, and witness the connection they seem to make in their eyes.
Paigely has been taking lessons at River Wind Farm for 3 years. I loved sitting in the viewing area, watching her guide a beast 40 times her size around the ring. I loved watching the adult riders, in complete control over giants in comparision. It all looked so poised, so effortless.
I am afraid of horses. Their sheer size, strength, and agility. How they seem to be able to look right into your soul. How they seem to know exactly what you are made of. This simultaneous fear and awe made me want to be near them.
It’s 2019 and I am sitting in the viewing room again, watching my daughter climb onto a redhead thoroughbred named Flash. My heart always skipped a beat for her. It watched as a woman 10 years my senior rode past and led her horse over a jump. It was majestic. I was locked in. I looked to my left and then my right: What the hell was I doing just sitting here?
My first lesson was humbling. There was nothing effortless or seamless about it. I was nervous and jerky – two things you never want to be on a horse. I felt the opposite of control. I refused to let that own me and went back the next week. Then I went back the next week and the next week after that. It was the process that made me fall in love. It was the hard work that kept me there.
Did you know I am terrible at listening to directions? I learn by seeing and doing. You can’t tell me how to do anything (ask my husband). I have to see it in action. I learned how to run by watching my sister run. I learned how to dance and play sports by watching my peers. I learned how to write by reading. I learned how to ride a horse by mimicking what I saw from great instructors; feeling the rhythm.
And then, I fell off.
I went down hard. It felt like I shot out of a cannon. I had dirt in my teeth and in my toes. What am I doing I thought to myself… I’m a mom of 3.
I took two weeks off then went back. You know why? I wasn’t finished yet. Mistakes are a part of mastery. You have to fall off to learn how to get it right.
Do you know what happens when I am on a horse? Very little. It’s only my breath and the horses breath and the sound of hooves. There are no phones or emails to answer, no social media to tend too, no meal preparations or Covid stories to track, no breaking news to follow or diapers to change. There is no whining, no excuses, no hard feelings, and no guilt. There is only concentration, focus, and when you ask just right – the feeling of flying without wings.
Do you know what happens when I get off a horse? My head is clear. My body feels strong. I’m more ready to confront the crazy, the stubbornness, the curiosity and the energy that my house doles out every night.
Because just like riding a horse life takes balance, breath, and above all else – guts.
Kristin rides at River Wind Farm located in Pembroke, Ma. They are open for lessons with certain restrictions in accordance with Commonwealth of Massachusetts phased reopening orders. River Wind Farm is an established hunter/jumper program that offers riders of all ages and abilities exceptional instruction. With an emphasis on safety, horsemanship and show skills, the trainers at River Wind Farm work with students to develop and achieve their individual goals. They offer riding lessons for both casual and competitive riders of all ages.
Carl is one of the most well respected trainers in New England. Carl oversees the facility, staff, sale horses, lesson and training programs at River Wind. Carl is known for his uncanny ability to evaluate horses, and to match a rider with the right horse. He has sponsored countless working students who have shown themselves to be dedicated and talented kids who otherwise could not afford to ride. His wife Spencer (also an accomplished rider) can be contacted about lessons: 617-548-7875.