Being Part of the Group

I’ve ridden Luke a couple times this week and will ride again tomorrow, all in preparation for riding in a dressage test clinic on Saturday. Neither Luke nor I are quite sure what I was thinking when I signed up for this.

As you can see, Luke is a bit less than enthusiastic about the whole affair. 

He’s feeling put out that he hasn’t even finished shedding his winter coat and will not look look his best.

That’s not true. Luke doesn’t care much about appearance, otherwise he wouldn’t immediately roll in the dirt after I’ve so meticulously cleaned the sweat off him and brushed his mane to a silky shine. What Luke cares about, quite simply, is grass and rolling on the ground to reach his itchy spots.

I think the thing was that my friends were so excited about this clinic and about the upcoming show season that I got carried away with their enthusiasm.

That got mixed up with what I care about — belonging.

I’m reading the book “Eternal Echoes” by John O’Donohue and in the book he writes,

“No one wants to have a life that is cut off or isolated. The absence of contact with others hurts us. When we belong, we feel part of things. We have a huge need to participate. When this is denied us, it makes us insecure… It seems that in a soul sense, we cannot be truly ourselves without others. In order to be, we need to be with.”

Luke and I are a trail team. It’s not that the other riders don’t do trail riding also, but it’s not where they focus and put their energy. They don’t seem to need it to stay sane. They love showing and I’m thrilled for how well some have already done on their first time out this show season.

But I have to remember who I am and that I don’t need to love what my friends love to belong.

Don’t get me wrong, Saturday will be fun because I’ll be with a group of people that I enjoy being with, who are kind and supportive of whatever I do.

It’s my issue really. And Luke would be thrilled if I’d just get over it.

Another way to say all this…

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  1. I took dressage lessons for years, but not for the purpose of showing. Regardless of your discipline, it seemed like good classical training to me (unless you had a trainer that liked to crank horses…which I deplore). There were times on trail rides, when my horse got too strong and I would do a little haunches in for awhile… What horse would not like trail riding the most.

  2. Lori – I look at dressage similarly. I’m glad it’s the first thing I learned because I consider it a great training tool for both horse and rider. You learn so much that helps with a number of riding problems you can run into.

  3. Sounding very reflective and balanced and like you know who you are today. 🙂 Enjoy Sat, your friends and your horse. Keep being you. 🙂

  4. I bet you will have a great time in the dressage class. I have never been the one to fall in line either and have ended up more than once being the class clown. Fun is the main objective in my book. Besides…just being around your friends and your horse make it all worth while.

  5. You sound good sweetie, it comes through your writing. You’ll have fun with the dressage class and bein’ with others. Heck, Luke might even smile! :o)

    Enjoy the blessings of your day!

  6. I bet you enjoy yourself at the clinic…what’s not to like? You and your horse, out with your friends, and learning something new. Sounds wonderful to me! Just remember this – whatever it is that we choose to do with our horses is to have fun!! Relax and have a good time!! But, I agree with you about trail riding. It’s the best because it’s so therapeutic and soul-soothing. It’s like breathing air…we need to do it! I loved that quote from the book…sure rings true to me, and I often feel cut off from people in my life, and it does hurt. Nice song too!

  7. Sue – I hope so on the balanced bit. Saturday is looking a little less ominous.

    Jill – I’m hoping to disguise myself as a photographer and clown. It should be fun even though rain is predicted.

    Nezzy – Thanks. Luke will just go with the flow, maybe a little too much. He sure was lazy tonight.

    C-ingspots – Thanks for stopping by! I forget sometimes that I’m not in a situation where if I show any weakness or make a mistake someone is going to move in for the kill. Saturday will be a lot different than that if I just let my guard down and enjoy.

  8. Great post…great song, too.
    Interesting about the belonging thoughts, too.
    I’ve never felt like I belonged to anything and have felt quite comfortable being alone. Probably because I’m an only-child and grew up with military parents moving every couple years to a new home. Then I was bounced around with different family members the rest of my childhood after my parents divorced.

    I don’t have a family besides what I’ve made on my own with my husband and kidlets. So I do feel disconnected without and family tree or roots.

    I’ve never been a “joiner” and I’ve always felt like the puzzle piece that doesn’t fit. Whenever I try to fit in, I feel fake and I think others must pick up on that. I’ve always had trouble understanding people and their emotions. Are they saying what they mean? Or are they joking around?
    I don’t usually speak about this with anyone else, but I sometimes wonder if am on the autism spectrum like my daughter, who has aspergers.

    Well, poo. Look what you did. Went and caused me to get all introspective. lol!

    Anyway, thanks for sharing your thoughts and creating a moment for me to think about some of my own deeper thoughts.


  9. Lisa – We sound so much a like in some ways. I feel pretty disconnected from family also. I have the same problem with understanding all the nuances of small talk and such. I sometimes let my closest friends know that “OK, I’m practicing acceptable social behavior now.” I am generally considered an odd ball at places like where I work. But I fit in with most horse people and the creative, artsy, love being outdoors kind of people. There’s a few of us who refer to this as having our tribe. It’s a good thing to have. It’s a battle with just blowing through and not worrying too much about the results. Assume the best and dare I say, consider anything else their problem, not yours.

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