by Arlene Schmidek
I have been around horses all my life. I started to ride when I was three years old and shortly after that I started competing with horses. I didn’t see it as competing then. I saw it more as being with my horse and seeing what we could create together.
I couldn’t wait to get home from school to go be with my horse. No matter what was going on in my life whether it was a good day or a day I was pissed at the world, I have always felt like I could be totally me with horses.
For the longest time, I loved seeing what my horse and I could create by being together. From how fast we could race around the barrels, to how close we could get to the poles without knocking them over to how quick we could go in and out of the keyhole without stepping on the white chalk. There was so much joy and ease in my body and the fun I had with my horse as we were racing down the track, or being in nature walking through the fields or the mountains. There was a connection we had with the Earth and a sense there was not a care in the world. It wasn’t about anyone else. It wasn’t about competing or winning. It was just me and my horse.
As the years went on, something shifted in me the more I competed and the more I won the trophies, ribbons and money. Being with my horse shifted to “doing” with my horse as the competition, the judgements and the projections took over.
It wasn’t about what my horse and I could create by being together anymore. It was about what we could create by doing together. The significance of doing took over my joy and ease. The more I engaged in competition, the more judgmental I became of myself and my horse. Always questioning my knowing and awareness I had from being with my horse and buying into the projections and conclusions of the industry.
The conversations became about what I have to do or should do to my horse or myself to win more. Did I have the right feed or supplements? Did I have the right bridle and bit or saddle? Did I have the right trailer or truck? Did I need a trainer? Was I going to enough rodeos per weekend? Did I even have the right horse?
What used to be something I loved became heavy, forceful and an effort. My horse mirrored everything I was feeling and I couldn’t find the connection we once had. Definitely the fun and joy I felt wasn’t there either. So one day, I quit, sold my horse and cut off the contribution and gift horses have always been to me. I justified and made the excuse I didn’t have the time for horses which seemed to distract me from the longing I had for my horse.
I have stopped judging myself for that choice because I didn’t know what I didn’t know then. I didn’t know I had made the competition and the significance of doing with horses more relevant than being with horses. I have learned what is important is for me to be me, receive the contribution horses are to me, my body and gift the immense gratitude I have for horses back to them. I get to connect and learn from horses all the time now through offering Conscious Horse, Conscious Rider clinics and sessions and using the tools of Access Consciousness. How did I get so lucky?
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