Eil’s daughter, Nikilina (aka The Bedlam Farm Barn Fairy) joined me in my riding lesson today. Needless to say, she knows a lot more about horses than I do.
There’s so much to think about all at once, but I did get a better feeling for the reins and what they’re supposed to feel like in my hands. That sense of connection between me and Chloe. It wasn’t constant, there were times when I just lost it and it seemed like my hands were out of control, but Eli was always right there to remind me. And I have to say, she has a great way of correcting. She never makes me nervous or makes me feel bad about not getting it. She’s very positive and laughs a lot. And when I do something well, she makes me feel like I just won the MacArthur Genius Award.
Towards the end of the lesson, there was maybe a minute or so when I experienced what it feels like to really be in sync with Chloe. We were trotting and I got into the rhythm of it and at the same time was able, just by twisting my upper body and shoulders, to get Chloe to make a quick right turn and continue trotting straight ahead for a bit. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but for those few moments, we were one. She was doing what I was asking her to do, and it was easy, it flowed. It didn’t last long, but now I know what it feels like. Although I have to say, it wasn’t an alien feeling, even though I’ve never experienced it before. It was as familiar as when I first got on Chloe’s back.
I think it’s because my body has a cellular memory of it. I think we all have this memory in us. The memory of horses and our lives with them. Because it’s really a part of being human, being with horses. It’s only in the past hundred years or so that we haven’t been in close contact with them. That they haven’t been a part of our daily lives.
I can see it clearly in kids like Nikilina. Kids who haven’t been taught to be afraid of horses. She has the opportunity to connect with them naturally and instinctively, as well as having someone to teach her about them. But I also hear about it from all the people who write to me, telling me their horses stories and how much they mean to them, whether they still have a horse or not.
So it’s almost like I’m not really learning something new. It’s like I’m learning something I once knew and had forgotten.