"The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing —
to reach the Mountain, to find the place where all the beauty came from —
my country, the place where I ought to have been born. Do you think it all meant nothing,
all the longing? The longing for home? For indeed it now feels not like going, but like going back."


~C.S. Lewis




Thursday, May 9, 2013

Voice of the divine in a bareback ride

Off to the west, thunder and lightning, but try as it might, the clouds could not fill up the sky with gray. In South Dakota, there is always more sky.

Today was the third afternoon of my bridleless experiment, riding without neckrope, sticks, whips, or anything but myself and my horse; I’d committed to ten rides in a row of this to see if bridleless long term is possible or should stay closed in the realm of the dreamers.

Maybe I’d keep the bridle off for a month. Maybe the summer. Maybe forever. I wouldn’t put any limits on what the Lord wanted me to do.

We face the west, watch the lightning, and Maia snorts into rain-wet wind. Why am I here, Lord? Why do I ride? What am I missing that is beyond just reins and saddles, trot and canter, oat hay and brome grass? There is more—I know there is—there is a reason we long to ride, to be united with the power and the beauty and the sound of hoofbeats in summer grass.

There is more than one reason, actually, but today, there is a specific one: I want you to hear My voice, He says.

And so I listen. And Maia and I set off again, and suddenly, thoughts flood through my mind—sit up taller, look ahead now—yes! and breathe and breathe and breathe. Maia loosens, relaxes, and in just a few minutes, we had our breakthrough: long and low at the walk, stretching, forward, softly bent, and utterly, completely bridleless. I haven't been able to reach that state of beauty on my own. Ever.

In itself, this is not new—to walk with God, to converse about my day and yesterday’s breakfast and the e-mail I’m supposed to send by 3 p.m.—but this is different, now, a God-guided horse training. I haven’t read about that in my books.

But do you know what this is?

This is hope.

"She was, for the first few moments, fearful of her own lack of skill [to ride Tsornin bridleless], and of the strength of the big horse, but she found they understood each other… She felt almost uneasy that it was too simple, that she understood too readily. But she was too caught up in the beauty of it to wish to doubt it long."
~The Blue Sword