This past Saturday, August 1, 2015, on my fifty-seventh (as in 5-7) birthday, I had the chance to ride a horse for over three hours in the magnificent Rockies! Some may wonder why I would give out that number, but it is mainly because it is just that, a number and my Mama taught me that “Age is just a matter of the mind, if you don’t mind it does not matter!”
Steve, an Estes Park, Colorado resident and dear friend for decades was our wrangler. From the time I mounted “Scrappy”, to hours later, I was enamored and impressed by this magnificent animal that carried me safely to the top of many mountains. The terrain was even rockier and dustier than usual because of a lack of rain, still, Scrappy did his work and provided me with a beautiful ride. I learned a lot just by being with him all morning!
Did you know? The horses’ senses are based on their status as prey animals, where they must be aware of their surroundings at all times. They have the largest eyes of any land mammal, and are lateral-eyed, meaning that their eyes are positioned on the sides of their heads. This means that horses have a range of vision of more than 350°, with approximately 65° of this being binocular vision and the remaining 285° monocular vision.
LESSON ONE: This reminds me to look around, be aware, live in the moment, like a horse does.
Did you know? Horses are herbivores with a digestive system adapted to a forage diet of grasses and other plant material, consumed steadily throughout the day. With such an adventurous summer, Donny and I have been wanting to move towards a healthier and more natural diet, too. <smile>
LESSON TWO: Less meat, more plants, veggies, fruits. Horses inspire us to do just that.
Did you know? Wild horses generally gather in groups of 3 to 20 animals.
LESSON THREE: Just like these horses that hang together, doing life with good friends, family, and neighbors is imperative for a fulfilling life. We all need time alone, but we need each other, too!
Did you know? More and more horses are being used for equine-assisted therapies. It has been clinically documented that just being around horses changes human brainwave patterns. We calm down and become more centered and focused when we are with horses. Horses are naturally empathetic. The members of the herd feel what is going on for the other members of the herd. Jonah’s (pictured above) Mom shared with me: “Jonah simply adores horses and riding. This particular day, his OT had the horse ‘trot’ to help teach Jonah to utilize core muscles and to be prepared for the unexpected. Naturally, in our faith in God, HE ‘shakes’ things up once in awhile. We may not like it, but as in Jonah’s case, maybe HE is strengthening us for something bigger than what we consider ‘purposeful’ in the present. We always need to be on guard and be willing to take the reins and hold on!”
LESSON FOUR: This reminds me of the importance of being a compassionate, an empathic human in the time I have here on this earth.
I cannot tell you why, but this reminds me of one of my favorite songs of which you might want to have a listen, if so, click HERE.
“If you are fearful, a horse will back off. If you are calm and confident, it will come forward. For those who are often flattered or feared, the horse can be a welcome mirror of the best in human nature.”
Clare Balding, retired amateur jockey
LIFE IS HARD and OBSTACLES come up unexpectedly, and this ride was a great example of how to respond to obstacles in your path. Scrappy and the other horses with us had to be alert to all kinds of rocks, big and small in their way. It was astonishing how strong they were as they made their ways through the Rocky Mountains!
LESSON FIVE: Scrappy inspires me to stay strong, devoted, and committed even when times are rough.