Riding Meditation, Gaited Hooves & Quiet Mind

by September 2017

“We meet threatening and sometimes dangerous situations just as each of us does in life…”

I have often contemplated about why my sitting meditation practice ebbs and flows. I now know that sitting Meditation is not for everyone. I didn’t yet know that I would find the perfect meditation practice until I met Max. Max is my Tennessee Walking Horse. He is tall, black, and a solid ton of walking grace. Max is a Gaited horse, which simply means he moves along on flying feet, which is neither a walk, trot or canter. It’s a fast moving stride akin to riding on a cloud moving along with a swift breeze. When I ride Max, I am in harmony with his gaited movements, each of us with spacious mind, but aware of all the details nature provides. We move in unity, with solace, and trust in one another.

We notice – but are not attached to – the creatures that move in and out of our visual range, including but not limited to wild turkeys flocking over our path, woodpeckers hammering in the trees, Blue Herons, white Egrets and Canada Geese flying low overhead, along with turtles, snakes and an occasional coyote.

Max is guided by my subtle movements synchronized with his. This is not to say that we don’t meet with some startling distractions on the trails. Horses are prey animals and they will meet some situations not known to them with some fear and trepidation. Max does not understand “bounce houses” sitting just feet off our familiar Ancil Hoffman Park trail, or especially low flying rescue helicopters hovering just above our heads, or an eight foot dragonfly kite with mylar streamers looming just around a corner blowing back toward Max’s flaring nostrils.

While we do not feel safe at these times, I anticipate his sudden startled movements as I prepare to stay astride him as his body tenses for quick modes of flight. We meet threatening and sometimes dangerous situations just as each of us does in life… but my riding meditation – in moments, not months – brings Max and I back to our current contemplative journey.

We meet threatening and sometimes dangerous situations just as each of us does in life…”

I have often contemplated about why my sitting meditation practice ebbs and flows. I now know that sitting Meditation is not for everyone. I didn’t yet know that I would find the perfect meditation practice until I met Max. Max is my Tennessee Walking Horse. He is tall, black, and a solid ton of walking grace. Max is a Gaited horse, which simply means he moves along on flying feet, which is neither a walk, trot or canter. It’s a fast moving stride akin to riding on a cloud moving along with a swift breeze. When I ride Max, I am in harmony with his gaited movements, each of us with spacious mind, but aware of all the details nature provides. We move in unity, with solace, and trust in one another.

We notice – but are not attached to – the creatures that move in and out of our visual range, including but not limited to wild turkeys flocking over our path, woodpeckers hammering in the trees, Blue Herons, white Egrets and Canada Geese flying low overhead, along with turtles, snakes and an occasional  coyote.

Max is guided by my subtle movements synchronized with his. This is not to say that we don’t meet with some startling distractions on the trails. Horses are prey animals and they will meet some situations not known to them with some fear and trepidation. Max does not understand “bounce houses” sitting just feet off our familiar Ancil Hoffman Park trail, or especially low flying rescue helicopters hovering just above our heads, or an eight foot dragonfly kite with mylar streamers looming just around a corner blowing back toward Max’s flaring nostrils.

While we do not feel safe at these times, I anticipate his sudden startled movements as I prepare to stay astride him as his body tenses for quick modes of flight. We meet threatening and sometimes dangerous situations just as each of us does in life… but my riding meditation – in moments, not months – brings Max and I back to our current contemplative journey.

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