ISOFaithfulandTrue: as precious as a Ruby

It is written that wisdom is as precious as rubies and I found a gleaming gem today. I remembered Ruby and how I noticed him because he had the best topline I had ever personally seen on a horse. I did not know a thing about him or his owner, but I wanted to find out.

I was like a new gym-goer starting to lift weights who noticed an Olympic lifter and wanting to know how he trained to get there. So, I hung out at the gym/ring and watched.

His rider would spend most of their time walking Ruby and doing various moves while walking and her father was her ground person, and gave her feedback. I gradually found out bits about them but I was not there to insert myself into their training, but to learn by watching and observing.

Well, it was no accident that Ruby had that dancer’s physique. He was an upper level dressage horse and his rider had been on her way to the Pan American Games in the past, I believe, when tragedy struck. She was a Grand Prix level dressage rider and was clearly an artist.

Eventually, I would ride during when she rode. She came out in the evening when others were gone. I purposely stayed late to watch. I really treasure those times now.

A Ruby dropped into my world tonight as I was thrilled with Mel and our ride. He reached down for the bit and walked out, but with true relaxation. It was the first time in a long time riding outside because he had had issues with his feet and the rocks outside and anywhere but the indoor ring. The gem appeared after I had watched some of a dressage show today. I enjoyed it most when the horses had a stretchy trot and walk, where they reach down for the bit with a very long rein stretching to meet the bit and make contact. Then, I wondered if Mel would be up to the task today.

When he had his last saddle fit, our instructor asked if Mel could ever be on a long rein. I said, some days, if he is in the space to handle it. Not that day, though, because he was barely holding it together and was filled with tension, as all kinds of things were going on and he’d been laid up for two months. She just had me get on him and we were the picture of tension–both of us, but we got the job done. He picked his saddle and did not act out at all. BALANCE saddles are chosen by the horse as to which he or she likes best and Mel made his choice very clearly known. I could feel it without a doubt. He moved completely differently. Mission accomplished–his time off had been in part because his saddle no longer fit him properly and it turned out that a used one with just the specifications that he preferred was available in Florida.

Life is quite interesting with Melness, whose registered name is Splendid High. Following what I need to do to take care of him has brought me to some great places and people.

Today I did not get to drop off the piece of tack that I planned to at that show, but I came back to Mel after being a spectator. Ruby trained extensively at the walk and I only recalled it after reflecting on my ride on Mel tonight.

Some say that watching dressage is like watching paint dry, but that does not ring true for me at all. I like watching horses move. I just do. Ruby was like watching Nijinsky.

As I have said before, getting an ex-racehorse to really relax with a rider on him is one of the biggest thrills of my life. Today Mel nailed it completely as he lifted his back and still remained at ease because I did not have to use leg to get him to lift his back and carry himself (and me) because of using the TTouch Balance Rein. It still is strange for me to ride with that Balance Rein. I do not have complete trust of it but I keep using it because I can see how well it works. Mel seems to really enjoy it as well.

That is a gem for me, to accept the things I cannot change and change the things I can. Wisdom is knowing the difference and truly feeling the difference.  When I get off of him and can see literally that his back remains lifted more than it ever was before, I know. I understand and am grateful that the Great Spirit gave his Splendid High-ness some serenity today in answer to prayer–and, I was granted some wisdom to know the difference. I truly knew how much it meant for him to find peace with a rider because that did not happen with his jockeys. He raced for ten years and excelled but he would have rather raced without a jockey, I am quite sure.

Now a Power greater than ourselves teaches us both to release tension through a perpetual prayer, “In the Name of Jesus Christ, peace be still, peace be still, peace be still, peace be still” repeated over and over and over again…” That is our practice–I say it and we both live it, by the grace of God, and I knew that He answered my prayer and goal that I one day be able to ride with the Faithful and True. He has to be in my heart in order for that to ever manifest; and He said, the kingdom of heaven is within you. I ride with Him when He reigns in my heart, and my ego is dethroned. I pray that He takes the reins always because He is truly the Prince of Peace and it takes His intercession for us to have serenity at all…Thank You, Lord!



ISOFaithfulandTrue: On a Splendid High 7-15-18

In “Saddle Solace,” a great article on equines helping combat veterans, the Marine Matt Littrell, who rode across American on his Mustang Crow, gave his take on why horses help rehabilitate veterans. “Combat is the world’s greatest high,” he says in the Western Horseman article. “You’ll never feel more alive that when you’re about to die. You hear and see everything. When guys get back, they chase that level of high. They drive fast cars, party hard and do drugs. But horses give you a different kind of lasting high. The reward doesn’t come from going fast and crazy. It’s from getting a horse to soften and relax.”

That was the Splendid High moment I had tonight, thanks be to a Power greater than ourselves. I have said before that one of the greatest thrills in life for me is to get an ex-racehorse to relax with a rider on him. I am very grateful Linda Tellington-Jones for her invention of the TTouch Balance Rein, which helps equines relax and lift their backs. Tonight we had what for me is an ultimate reward: after liberty work on the ground beforehand where he trotted next to me as I ran beside him with no coercion, he then relaxed with me astride as he lifted his back and stretched his neck down.

As the song says, I was “16 hands closer to Heaven”–on a horse appropriately named Splendid High, who is the best medicine ever for post-traumatic stress disorder. I am grateful to the Creator of this force of nature, in whom the Great Spirit resides and teaches me what the real prize in life is. To us, riding for the Prince of Peace and striving to be centered in His Peace is all…and He helps us as I ride praying the holy rosary recorded on my phone.

I had a midsummer night’s dream-come-true of becoming a “stable nun” who finds Him in the manger of our hearts at peace with Him. Thank You, O Holy Ghost, for teaching us tonight and bringing all things to our remembrance whatsoever He taught us. You are indeed the Great Spirit in Nature who can train us and is…Thank You, and thank you St. Kateri, whom I believe has interceded for us, as well, as the patron saint of horsewomen and a devotee of the holy rosary also. We are grateful! May we ride to glorify Him always…