HorsesWriting Fear Free

Balance in Motion

When people find out that I ride horses, they ask a lot of questions. One of the most popular–right after asking me why I would want to ride a 1,000-pound flight animal and telling me the story of the time they/their friend/an acquaintance fell off an evil horse/pony/mule–is “how do you stay on?” People seem to think that riders are somehow gripping the horse’s sides with their feet or knees or are hanging onto the reins for dear life.

The answer to the question of how you stay on a horse is this: Balance in Motion.

When you are riding right, you and the horse are moving as if you are one. You are both relaxed, in tune with each other, and having a good time. You are moving together. Hidden in every step around the arena, the rider makes a series of nearly invisible adjustments that keep her centered over the horse. And sometimes–if you are lucky–the horse is adjusting to help keep the rider centered too.

Darcy and me last winter.

There is no:

  • Tension
  • Gripping
  • Hanging on
  • Bracing
  • Screaming, yelling, gnashing of teeth

In fact, bracing, gripping, and tensing are surefire ways to ensure that you will fall off! The horse is a moving animal, and you are on its back. You have to move along with it. If you stiffen up or brace against the movement, you are likely to be bounced right to the ground. (Tip: The ground hurts. And if you are tense when you fall, it hurts even more.)

And yes, you will fall off. All riders fall, but you learn to dust yourself off and get back in the saddle.

Balance in Motion is also the secret to leading a happy life.

At least, that’s my theory. In the not-so-distant past, I spent a lot of time waiting for my life to calm down. When that happened, I would finally be able to do a lot of things. I would be able to relax, ride more often, write faster, clean the kitchen….

But life never calms down. It is always in motion. Bad things happen, and they distract us. Good things happen, and they distract us too. Life never stops. The key to leading a happy, productive, fulfilled life is Balance in Motion. Every day, something changes, and you have to make a series of tiny adjustments to keep yourself balanced and centered.

Balance in Motion means learning to move along with life’s ups and downs without always waiting for that elusive and non-existent “perfect” moment when everything will stop.

Newsflash: when life stops, that’s death. I don’t want to spend my life waiting for death. I’d much rather ride like the wind along all the terrain of life.

So keep one leg on each side and your mind in the middle, and live with balance in motion.


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