Monday, May 13, 2013

An Unexpected Lesson

Healing Hearts Ranch
Healing Hearts Ranch
This summer, Danielle and I are traveling to Montana to spend some time in the saddle; my graduation gift to her.  Today, we are both very excited about this trip, but it definitely didn't start out that way.

Danielle has always been very naturally comfortable around horses, and like many children do, she learned everything and anything to do with them very quickly and easily.  She took lessons for a couple of years, but eventually had to stop for awhile.  I don't think there was a moment in time when she wasn't yearning to return to the saddle.

I on the other hand have never been comfortable in the saddle.  In fact, I have been just the opposite.  I could fool most people, appearing calm and courageous, but inside I was terrified.  This is a huge admission for me because I don't think I've ever admitted being even a little scared of anything.

I decided I had better take some lessons before departing for this summer vacation that I'm supposed to enjoy.  Danielle had already started lessons at Healing Hearts Ranch in the fall of 2012, and at the same time she volunteered to help them with their therapeutic riding classes.  We both agreed to make a couple financial sacrifices so that we could take riding lessons together, and I'm extremely happy we did this.

Heart Strides Therapeutic Riding
Someone else will have to tell you whether or not I'm riding well, but I can tell you that I'm loving my lessons.  I was sure I would never want to canter by choice, and definitely feared an accidental canter.  Kristi, our instructor, uses tactile and illustrated techniques to teach, which works well for me.  She could see right through me, sensing my fear and my tension.  She reminds me to breath, use soft hands, press and release, and so much more.  I'm no longer afraid of a canter, in fact, the only things I fear now are the mistakes I might make that send the horse the wrong message.

I'm always excited about our Monday riding lessons.  With each lesson I learn a little bit more about myself, gain confidence, and enjoy the precious time I get to spend with my daughter.  Today, Kristi taught me that my grandson is not an autistic child, he's a child with autism.  Leg yielding, one hand and gentle reining, a few laps at a cantor, and a more compassionate vocabulary; definitely love my Monday lessons.  You can learn more about Healing Hearts Ranch on their web site.