The Horse-Less Rider

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We’ve reached the end of 2017. I’ve read many wonderful posts, and seen many amazing photos, that wraps up the year perfectly. This is going to be a more personal post. The photo above is my favorite photo from 2017. It’s two wild mustangs at the Virginia Range in Nevada. I’ve been watching the pinto colored stallion for years, and his dad before that. I’ve seen him several times during 2017,  looking very healthy. The stallion was injured last year. It makes me incredibly happy to see him, still wild and free on the range, safe, and in good condition.

For a while my life have been more of the nomadic kind, moving, working, and traveling a lot. To some degree due to my passion for photography. There was so many photos that I needed to take. Places I needed to see. I’m at the moment a horse-less rider. While I am blessed with a tremendous amount of good things in my life, I hate that part. I still wake up every morning thinking that I’m going to go out and feed the horses, and wondering about what horse to ride first. It’s been my life for so many years. It’s not just about having a horse, or riding. I could get a horse today, or ride someone else’s horse today. It’s not that. I crave for the monotone routine of caring for my horse(s) every day, working towards a goal together (wether it is overcoming a fear, learning something new, or getting prepared for an event.) The pleasure of reaping what you sow. The pleasure of feeling that all the time, love, knowledge, and training you put into a horse pays out, when he becomes your best friend and faithful partner. The infinite pleasure of walking out to the pasture any time of the day to share a moment of stillness together. To experience the trust of such a powerful animal as the horse. When the softness appears. It’s that spiritual experience that I miss.

My timeline is to have my life more structured within the next few months, to be able to experience this again. It is exciting, yet challenging to not run out and just get a horse, any horse. I know that I wouldn’t be happy if I did. In fact I have been looking at a few horses. None of them have been the right one. I like horses, most horses, but I’m very picky about the horse that I’m going to invest hours in every day, for many years. I keep reminding myself about that, when I feel impatient. I also make it a priority to work on my own fitness. I’m in great shape, and that feels good. I believe that it is my responsibility towards my horse to be in good balance myself.

In a perfect world I would like to get a well trained, semi conditioned horse, that I can ride from day one. I know that I am going to start many young horses the next coming years, some for myself, and likely some for other people. Having the feel in your body of what it should feel like to ride a well trained horse is priceless in that process. That horse is worth its weight in gold, and he/she would have a forever home with me. I don’t want to get that horse until I am ready to offer that forever home. That is one of the major reasons why I don’t have a personal horse right now. I’m not super particular about breed, it’s more about the individual. That said, I want to get into endurance riding again. Considering that, and our hot climate here, an Arabian, mustang, or cross thereof is most suitable for what I want to do. That narrows it down a little. I enjoy training a young horse tremendously, but when starting a young horse, I do not take any short cuts. It takes a lot of time. That’s the main reason why I at this point would like to get a horse that have a good foundation already. I’ve been without a horse for too long.

After getting to know my new horse, I would want to adopt a young mustang that I gentle and train myself. Having one older, trained horse, and one young prospect is the ultimate bliss. You get to enjoy riding, while having all the time in the world to shape your young horse into your dream horse. I have started mustangs before, and it’s a phenomenal experience. Despite my frustration of being a horse-less rider for the moment, things are going in the right direction. I know that my goal of riding the world toughest endurance race, the Tevis Cup, is realistic, even though I’ve had to postpone the date a couple times. That only means that I’ve had more time to prepare myself, mentally, physically, and geographically. I have actually ridden most of the rugged trail from the start in Truckee (CA,) over the Sierra Nevada mountains to Auburn (CA.) I’ve had time to get more accustomed to the extreme temperatures of the area as well. I feel very excited about the future. Cheers to a prosperous New Year for everyone!

Love,

Ms Zen

Windows

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The theme of this week’s photo challenge is very appealing to me. When I was younger, and just lost my mom to her battle with cancer, I imagined myself looking at the world through a window. I did this little mind game for several years, as a part of my survival mechanism. When I finally learned to live in the real world again, it became critically important for me to live mindfully in the moment. In this process, first while distancing myself to the world, and later after making a decision to live mindfully, I started to notice more and more details. It enriched my life in a thousand different ways. It absolutely helped me to be more content, and grateful for what I have. It helped me to develop a more patient side, but also to not settle. My peace of mind had a high price, and I will not sell it, or trade it.

When I wear my snowboard glasses, I often think of the looking out through the window phase of my life. Partly because it feels like you’re looking out through a window, and partly because I did hundreds of days of snowboarding during that phase of my life. The photo is from Boreal, Lake Tahoe, last winter.

On a completely different note, now when I have a little piece of land, I’ve been starting to nurture the thought of having a horse of my own in my life. I actually looked at one yesterday. It was not the one. I came there with higher expectations than usual. Talking to the owner made me believe that he actually knew what he was doing. He was the one that had trained the horse himself. When I got there, it turned out that yes he knew about some techniques, basic Parelli techniques. He had obviously used them a lot, the horse absolutely hated it. Or, should I say, the horse strongly disliked his use of the techniques. (I like Parelli, and think very highly of him. I often use his games when I play with horses. The way I see it, Parelli is very much about mindfulness.) In this case there was no feel of the horse’s response. I started to get a bad feeling from the moment he put the halter on, and the horse turned her head away. Not liking the interaction at all. She even showed her teeth at several occasions, during the short demonstration. Her lips was constantly very tense. It was a very unhappy horse. I tried to be polite when I told the man that it wasn’t the horse I was looking for. (He was a very kind man, but not so experienced with horses. Even though he thought so.) I felt bad when I drove home…and then the engine heat light came on, on my car. I had to stop for a while by the side of the road. There was no cooling fluid, which was very weird, since I had an oil change, and topped of all the fluid the day before. I got home, but definitely need to have a mechanic check things out. An interesting day indeed. It ended in the best possible way with a mini photo shoot with one of my friend’s daughters and their horses. We had a great time, and the photos turned out beautifully, if I may say so. I hope you’re having an awesome weekend!

Love,

Ms Zen

 

 

Focus

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This week, share a photo that represents focus to you. Are you a stickler for getting in close to your subjects and capturing every detail, or do you prefer a more ethereal look that illustrates the sensations of the moment? Or both?

I choose to share a completely unedited, in focus photo, for this week’s photo challenge. Yesterday my daughter and I went to Whiskeytown Lake, part of a 39,000 acres national park in northern California. It’s a magical place! We’ve enjoyed coming back here for years, to hike the trails, and enjoy the lake.

Yesterday I wanted to capture the mix of pleasure, and concentration on my daughter’s face, as she walked on some uneven rocks at the shore. I followed her explorations with my camera, and snapped a couple pictures. I like this one the best. Show me your focus! If you’re participating in the photo challenge, feel free to leave a link to your entry in a comment.

 

Love,

Ms Zen