You pick up the reins of the modern english horse, and they don’t even hear the contact.
Pressure falls on a calloused mouth while the horses ears flick to anything but you.
Unresponsive to the breath and waiting on forced signals of hand and leg.
“More leg” is celebrated so much it’s a meme.
You get chastized as a rider if you cannot force them to do their job.
You pick up the reins for the modern western horse, and it’s so loud it’s deafening to them.
They’re quick to evade as they fly backwards or behind the contact.
Running from the pressure of your legs before you can even make a decided request.
You get chastized as a rider if you cannot be quiet enough in your aids to stay out of their way.
And yet the truth of connection lies in the gentle middle of those two roads.
Of feeling your horse breathe beneath your seat bones as they ground your body into theirs, so subtly that you can follow that breath into movement.
Picking up on the reins and feeling a softening in both neck and being as they tune into you with a curiosity of what’s to come.
Acceptance of the aids with the fluidity of a waltz as the two of you dance through space, having a conversation like two old friends over coffee.
Somewhere along the way, connection turned into a lost art.
One that I will spend my days etching out in the world around me.