Saturday, March 15, 2008

Riding and Writing


I’ve been reflecting on the similarities of riding and writing. In my life, there’s never enough time for either. There’s always something else that doesn’t get done when I ride or write. And yet, there’s nothing that I enjoy more than riding and writing so against the odds, I keep on doing both.

Even the cost of a good computer and a good saddle are about the same. I’m longing for a new saddle right now. I’ve had a hard time finding one to fit Siete. Last summer, I borrowed a friend’s Bob Marshall tree-less saddle and tried it on my little round horse. She was very comfortable, and I think I could get used to that close-contact, almost bareback feel. It would fit both horses, although Silk already has a wonderful old cutting saddle that we both love. So, if I sold some of my writing, it would benefit my riding because I could buy the new saddle.

Riding and writing both require practice and patience. There can be extreme frustration due to inability to communicate clearly. They keep me humble and teach me to forgive myself rather than beat myself up for my mistakes. Riding and writing bring up all my insecurities, my resistance to change and my fears of failure. At the same time, when I get it right, either in the saddle or on the paper, I feel so proud and happy that it lights up my whole world.

I got an email from Barbara McNally, who used to publish a wonderful magazine called “A Real Life”. She quoted Gandhi, and although she was talking about writing, I took it to heart about riding as well:

"Whenever I despair, I remember that all through history, the way of truth and love always wins. Always. When you are in doubt if this is God's way, the way it is meant to be, remember that, and try again."

7 comments:

Grey Horse Matters said...

You are right about the similarities between riding and writing. The mistakes and insecurities will always be there, but when you get it right, it feels wonderful. It is also true there is never enough time to do both with so many other things needing our attention. I once read a great article, it said something along the lines of don't put off riding until every thing is perfect and all the chores are done,because even the manure pile doesn't look so bad from the back of a horse. Good luck selling your writing projects so you can get that saddle.

Rising Rainbow said...

I agree that there are similarities between riding and writing. Our every day lives have become so hectic, it's hard to prioritize which comes first. I've found that when I make the time to do my horse thing and my writing I actually have more energy to get me through all of those other things.

billie said...

I've come to the point where I almost don't distinguish between writing and riding - the two seem linked in some very deep way. One feeds the other, and when something is off, one can fix the other.

I love what Arlene says about not putting off riding until all the barn chores are done. I used to ride after barn chores, now I ride first, b/c in the end, the barn chores get done.

(it's the house chores that suffer around here!)

I used to get that magazine, A Real Life. It was a favorite.

Heidi the Hick said...

Wow! Nailed it!

There was a time that I didn't think I could do either for a living. I finally gave in and realized that I have to do both and that riding and writing can balance each other out nicely.

(I can do both too... but like Billie, my house doesn't get much attention!)

Callie said...

That's a great quote! Funny, I've got a painting my daughter did when she was a freshman in highschool framed and hanging in our living room. An abstract of Ghandi. There's no mistaking him.

djbrown said...

Thank you for your kind words of encouragement and for your willingness to be vulnerable. That is, after all, our greatest strength. This post about writing and riding reminded me of a journal entry. I posted it today--thank you!

squirrelmama said...

When I feel I cannot write - a feeling that has come often lately, as our part of the publishing world goes through turmoil - I am grateful for riding.

When I feel my words cannot move in concert with my thoughts or feelings, or when I am not even loose or fluid enough to think, much less speak, I am also grateful for riding.

When I let the horse carry me, when I concentrate on nothing else except the way the horse feels with each footfall and every ripple of muscle, my brain (if I am doing this correctly) kind of shrugs into a "so what?" and I start to relax. I ride the horse, I ride the saddle and soon I am back to riding quietly back to writing.

If I concentrate on suppling my horse, it's only a matter of time before my mind will follow suit.

A good day of riding, I think, is the precursor to a good day of writing - if not the prerequisite!!