When most people are told to close their eyes, imagine their favorite place, and just escape the world, I would say the typical spots imagined are favorite vacation spots, places one wants to travel, or simply their favorite coffee shop. Maybe people imagine a place they love to hangout with family or friends or their favorite restaurant with their significant other. Where ever it may be, everyone has their own, “happy place,” and even if you cannot physically visit it, going there in your mind is better than nothing! My happy place just so happens to be sitting on the back of a horse (bet you could have seen that one coming)!
Whenever I have to go longer than normal without going riding, I start to get stir crazy. My mind and body literally crave the smell of the barn, the feel of the horses, and then as soon as I sit in the saddle, I feel as if I am home, where I belong, and everything just falls into place. When I cannot actually ride, I can close my eyes and picture this all perfectly and describe exactly what each step and part of the ride feels like.
As we begin to walk around, the horse and I begin to adjust to one another. I adjust my body movement to their's, trying to find a mutual rhythm. I try my best to listen to the body language of the horse I am riding. Even if it is a horse I have ridden multiple times, I listen with my body to see how the horse is feeling that day or in that particular moment. All the while I am doing this, I know the horse is doing the same thing to me. Horses can read our emotions better than any human. They will mirror exactly how we are feeling through their own body language and reactions. One of the favorite quotes I have ever heard about horses is that “they will tell on you.” Whether it be an incorrect cue you give them or you are having a bad day, they will portray that.
Depending on what I decide to do that day, I will feel different things. My two absolute favorite things to do in riding are jump, and go for a relaxing walk or trail ride in the woods. There is no better way to describe jumping other than feeling as if you suddenly have wings. Soaring through the air, again having to be in sync with the horse you are riding, is one of the most thrilling experiences and best feelings I could ever imagine. For those several seconds you are in the air, you feel the sun beating down, the wind rushing a little bit more, and the earth pausing for a second just waiting for you and your house to touch back down to the ground.
When on a trail ride, you can literally enjoy the peace and quiet and appreciate mother nature. Not many people get to see a lush, open field, climb up and down hills in the woods, cross a creek to the other side, or go cantering a corn field. So much of the beautiful, natural earth has been taken over by houses, shopping centers, malls, and other buildings and it is a shame that these sights are becoming more common and the beautiful, farmland is becoming less common. Thankfully, I have seen all of the mentioned multiple times that they have become etched in my brain, and I plan to keep seeing these amazing views.
So where ever your happy place may be, go there. Whether it be physically or just in your mind when the day seems too overwhelming to handle, do what makes you happy, be with who makes you happy, and live your life the way you want to. I know I will be getting back on a horse as soon as possible and in the mean time, I will just keep picturing it like I am there, riding my favorite horse, Cleveland!