Mary D. Midkiff
Press Article - January 2001
any psychiatry session or workout in a gym, a horse is the best
form of therapy.
is a therapist. My mare is especially challenging and demanding
which requires patience, trust and understanding on my part.
When I go to spend time with her I know I must shift to a form
of communication which uses all of my senses or neither one
of us is going to have a pleasant, gratifying experience. I
must let go of daily tensions, clear my mind of schedules and
plans and join her in a sensory way.
If you have
ever experienced a therapy session with a social worker, a mediator,
a psychologist or psychiatrist you know that your hour in that
office transcends anything going on outside. You are focused
inward, you must live in the moment, you listen to yourself,
you become circumspective about where you are in your life.
Being with my horse does the same for me and offers me a meditative
opportunity. Even when I am at speed with my horse or in a difficult
performance situation there is meditation and focus into the
partnership; a partnership that is always revealing insights.
As I researched
my upcoming book, She Flies Without Wings: How Horse's Touch
a Woman's Soul, time after time, book after book, poem after
poem, song after song, I came across horse people with power
derived from their moments with horses. I can only wish that
everyone had a taste of what horses can bring into their lives.
As we leave
our homes and businesses to visit a horse whether he/she is
a few yards out the back door or several miles away, we enter
into another dimension, a world full of flavor and perspective.
It's a place that is nourishing for the soul and healthy for
I am always
amazed when non-horse knowing people are surprised that I sweat
when I ride. A few years ago, a friend and neighbor working
in his yard saw me come out of the house dressed to go riding
and asked what I did for exercise. That question took me aback
for a few seconds as I always think of riding as an aerobic
and anaerobic workout. I told him I ride my horse 5 times per
week, take long walks and stretch everyday. He said, "You
mean you sweat when you ride? I always thought the horse did
all the work."
another reminder for me that most people don't realize what
the horse has to offer them in the way of a healthy lifestyle.
Physically, work around the horse helps maintain fitness and
riding promotes flexibility, strength and balance. Granted,
as I age I have to stretch everyday and strengthen 3 times per
week to prevent injury and promote conditioning, however, riding
is always the stimulus to take care of my body.
I have been away from my horse for a week or so (that's about
as long as I can go without getting too cranky), I come back
to her feeling lessened all over. When I begin grooming her,
picking up the curry, the brush, the hoofpick, the comb, the
rub rags, I feel strength pour back into me and enjoy the physical
exertion all over again. The layers of clothing peel off as
I work around my horse as if to warm me up and get my circulation
going before I put a foot in the stirrup.
I give my
mare therapeutic attention too. Even before a trail ride, I
walk her in hand and encourage her to bend and stretch and flex
her hocks. When I mount we are both in a position to move ahead
and graduate into work, whether it's climbing hills or practicing
dressage and jumping.
my experience with my horse has been exceptionally good that
day or not so good, I still feel as though I have been taken
care of and settled. My mare listens when I need to talk, she
gives me perspective on nature and what issues are really important
in life, she mirrors my behavior, and she reminds me tomorrow
is another day for another opportunity.
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D. Midkiff's new book, She Flies Without Wings: How Horses
Touch A Woman's Soul (Random House, Delacorte Press)
is now on sale at Amazon.com