Monday, May 31, 2010

Go loses much of its appeal when you can't stop

It's true. But one of the reasons I ride is the sheer joy of being able to cover ground in the swift and athletic manner that is only possible from the back of a horse. Nothing compares to the euphoria of flying along a beach at a dead gallop, the surge of powerful muscles rocketing you forward, the sheer elation in soaring over a five foot oxer, the athleticism of the dance-like sweep of the canter half-pass, until...your life flashes before your eyes as you realize you have no say-so over speed and direction. It's terror on a primitive scale when you know your survival is in sincere jeopardy.

It occurred to me, upon reflection from the safety of my office chair, that the horse isn't particularly happy in those moments, either. He's lost harmony with his closest herd member--me, the rider--and one thing a horse wants is to get along with the herd. It's that survival thing again. The reasons for this unhappy situation can be myriad. That's not the point. The point is, we've gone from a place where we're all having fun, to a point where none of us are. We're each solely concerned with--that's right--our own survival.

It's a lot like life. There is joy and freedom when Go and Stop are both options, and when none of the participants are in survival mode. When we keep an eye out for each other, and stay sensitive to loss of balance, Go is bliss.