My Midlife Return to Horses
What I Learned
Hey, all you middle-aged women out there- have you found yourself taking a good, hard look at your life and wondering, "How did I get here??" If so, I'm sure you know we're not alone. This hub is not a "how to" or a "top ten things" for you about hitting midlife, or finding ways to make meaningful changes at this crucial period of time. It's just my musings about where I am, and how I found horses again when I most needed them. Whether you are a horse-lover or not, my hope is that you can find the right thing for you, at the right time for you.
After a messy divorce (that still never seems to have an end), a new job, and a move to another community, my life was off the charts on the "things that cause stress" list. However, I did find my soulmate in the process, and my kids adjusted well, so all was not lost! In the midst of the chaos, though, I was spending a lot of time in therapy, and reassessing what was important to me and what kind of person I really wanted to be. Enter... horseback riding lessons!
As a child, I had taken lessons for years, and loved loved loved to be around horses whenever I could. I had a couple jobs with horses over the years as well, but expected the "horse thing" to fade as I created my grown-up life. My kids weren't terribly interested in horses, until a couple of years ago my daughter caught the bug. I was thrilled!! I eagerly searched for lessons in the area for her, and found an incredible barn with a highly trained and talented trainer/instructor in a natural horsemanship method. My daughter thrived. I drooled. (At least when she allowed me to watch!) A year later, I decided she wasn't the only one who would benefit from having horses in her life- I would, too!
My re-entry into the horse world was so many things to me: exciting, familiar yet new, cathartic, therapeutic, relaxing yet exhilarating... Getting to know the amazing horse again has helped me get to know myself again. Here are some things horses have taught me, at this late date in my life:
1. Let go of toxic things and people- if it's not going to feed you or be nice to you, it's not worth your attention
2. Play- enjoy yourself!
3. Be patient- everything doesn't have to be done at breakneck speed
4. Go fast when you want to- some things are fun at breakneck speed!
5. Notice everything- if it wasn't there yesterday, or even an hour ago, check it out; you never know...
6. Take a break- cock one leg, let your ears sag and doze off once in a while
7. Love those who are important to you
These are not just horseback riding lessons- these are lessons we can all use, in whatever way they are given to us. Take some time to sort through things as a midlife woman. What do you have? What do you need? Sometimes the answers creep up on us, sometimes they hit us in the face, and sometimes we have to go look for them. Mine was a velvety muzzle nibbling at the zipper on my coat.
- Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass; it's about learning to dance in the rain.
Peace to you