Today was pleasantly normal. There were no particular challenges, so it was more of just a physical endeavor than a mental one. Sometimes you just ride and there isn’t really much to learn in a pedagogical sense. It’s more like a workout than a lesson. I used to feel a little disappointed after these lessons, like I failed to accomplish something. Now I see that there are more subtle ways in which you can gain from these experiences; you’re stronger than before, but more importantly: you know your horse better in unconscious ways, through your hands and your seat, your legs and back. Your body learns even without the furious churning of your mind.
I think that kind of learning sticks harder on me. On the ride back to the barn today I felt possibly the most comfortable on a horse I’ve been since I started riding agin. In the light, soaking rain, the park was almost empty. We walked past the lake and my eyes wandered to all the honking waterfowl flapping in the water. I didn’t worry about my horse or even think much about her, we were just there together. Accomplishments and breakthroughs are satisfying, yes. But it’s these moments of physical unity, of feeling so comfortable with myself and my horse, that have always made me the happiest as a rider.