I thought I'd give a little update on Opie, as I approach three months of having him in my life. Full disclosure: I thought I knew what I was doing when I started leasing him. It turns out I knew a lot less than I thought I did. And I still have a lot to learn, but at least I'm aware of that now.
When I went to Costa Rica for the first time and went horseback riding, I did so because I was in awe of, and yet at the same time, afraid of horses. My goal that first time in Costa Rica was to get over my fear of horses. The second time I went was to delve a little deeper into that fear to help me conquer. The third time I went, I went because I loved being around horses.
So when this year came, and my schedule didn't allow for yet another trip to be with the horses there, I decided to do some riding a little closer to home. So I started visiting barns and taking lessons. And I learned so much during that time, from the types of barns that I want to spend time at and the kind of riding I wanted to do. I also learned that I had full-on caught horse-fever. And I decided that I wanted a horse of my own, but knew that I wasn't quite ready for the full commitment of owning a horse, so I kept my eyes out for a horse to lease and I found Opie. So many people have mentioned to me that they didn't realize you can lease a horse. I didn't either until earlier this year. In my case with Opie, it has been a wonderful experience. It helps that Opie's owner is a wonderful woman whose thoughts/feelings/beliefs around horses align with mine.
And so instead of taking a lesson once a week, with many weeks being on different horses, I am with Opie three times a week and am only riding him. And here's the cool thing: even though it's been three months now, I learn something EVERY TIME I am with him. And I don't mean something about him; I mean something about me. That's what is so cool about horses - they have such huge and loving energy. They are happy to be helping us learn about ourselves and about being our best selves through our interactions with them. They are so matter-of-fact in responding to our energy, without judgment and without holding a grudge.
Today was an especially cool experience for me - I rode Opie bareback for the first time. I loved being able to ride that ride, if only for a few minutes. The amount of connection and feel I was able to have without a saddle separating us was terrific. And while I'm not quite ready to go at a faster pace than walking bareback, I am looking forward to doing it again soon and feeling that special energetic connection with him.