We own them, we train them, we brush them, feed them, and take care of them.
Why do I go out in -10 degree weather and make sure that their water has not frozen and that they have plenty of good hay to eat?
Why do I clean stock tanks with a brush and make sure their hooves are trimmed?
All for a simple ride?
From the website Donegal Equestrain Center, Ireland
Benefits of Horse Riding
To the casual observer it may look like all the rider has to do is just sit there. The horse does all the work, well anyone who has ridden a horse will know how wrong that is. There is far more to riding a horse than one might expect. The benefits of horse riding are immense enjoyment, physically and mental fitness and a chance to enjoy the open countryside.
PhysicalHorse riding develops balance and improve coordination and motor function. Other advantages include strengthening of muscles, reflex acceleration, prevention of muscle cramps, increased joint mobility, boosting the cardiovascular system , improving blood circulation, stimulation of sensory integration, improved visual perception of space, the development of responsibility, patience and self-discipline, increasing self-confidence.
This is what I really would have liked to say myself.
But there is something very spiritual for me when riding.
It isn't about just hopping on the back of a mule and showing her the way to go.
For Siera, it has been a 5 year journey to understand her and to understand myself with her.
In the beginning it was utter hell to try and get Siera away from the farm and her herd mates. Once away she did rather well.
One of the things that impressed me right away was her lack of ability to buck. Either she has no idea how to do it or her half attempts at it were no good and she decided it wasn't worthy of the effort....or maybe she just isn't one to buck.
She tried to rear once too while refusing to cross a creek. Her front feet made it about 6 inches off the ground. She's hopeless in that manner.
Siera's ground training is excellent.
Her attitude has changed while we are out riding from 'NO I AM not going to do IT', to 'okay might as well try it'.
When I started with her she was willing to please. Unless she thought of course she was in 'danger' or didn't understand what I wanted of her.
Here is a photo of the first time Siera wore a saddle:
Here is the view from yesterday's ride.
Here she is standing in the Big Scary Creek in the back valley. In fact we had been walking right up the creek when I asked her to stop so I could take a photo.
She is now a calm and confident mule. She is content to be with me solo.
She'll stand quietly and munch while I stop and dismount to take a photo of something like wildflowers.
We had multiple encounters with deer being spooked up and running.
Siera simply alerted me and then watched.
So what is it that keeps me riding?
I guess it is the feeling I get inside of me. Pleasure and peacefulness.
While riding I never think about anything else, it is like going to a place where there are no problems in your life or in the world.
It is all about yourself and the animal you are riding.
For me all the work pays off for a few hours of pure pleasure any time I can get in the saddle and ride.
And that is why