Up earlier than dawn on a cool, crisp Autumn morning, I quickly pull on my breeches and a long sleeved ‘T’, eagerly anticipating a ride into the richness of another morning. I can hear Morgan whinnying in the barn — music to my ears. She knows I’m on my way. Always, at my first sighting of her, I feel a thrill at her beauty. Dark brown coat with a striking black mane and tail, well-toned muscles rippling at her slightest move, head held high, she is a perfect portrait of magnificence.
My first task is to brush her velvety smooth coat. It’s a way of silent connection and conversation between us. Morgan’s soft, brown eyes emanate kindness – unless, or course, someone takes her by surprise. Then the iris periscopes in and her look might start you thinking that it’s time to leave and quickly. We’ve been buddies for a quite a stretch of time and long ago I made the decision that I would set her free from harness and collar and ride bareback.
We exit the smell of hay in the stalwart old barn and start slowly down a steep, rocky hill to the forest path. A multi-colored collage of autumn leaves covers the trail and muffles the sound of rhythmic hooves. The smell of sweet earth rises as the day begins to warm and time dissolves into mist. As we trot along in silence, my body begins to respond synchronously with Morgan’s movements. I become conscious of a symphony of birdsong, of the silent rhythms of the forest surrounding us and of the wind whispering through the leaves. Everything in the forest seems to respond to our movement with song and sound at surprisingly appropriate and syncopated moments.
A horse is an amazing creature. Discipline along with freedom brings out their magnificence and their loyalty. I give her boundaries but don’t imprison her spirit. In such an environment, her unique and complex character has space to unfold at the same time that she learns to be responsive and dependable. That’s the reason I threw out her harness. It’s a sign of gut level cooperation between us. She is a faithful friend now, willing and happy to be a partner in any enterprise whether it be work or play.
We exit the forest into a softly rolling, flowered meadow. A sense of exhilaration begins the flow of adrenalin and Morgan’s pace quickens. I feel a cool river of wind flow over us as I braid my hands into her mane. I’m hunkered down on her back, legs gripping her sides, as if I were part of her skin and feel thrilled with the sense of both of us, now as one, flying effortlessly through the air. We rise together. Like Shamans riding the flying horse, Pegasus, Morgan and I enter into the mystery of worlds beyond worlds. I know where that myth comes from. I live it every morning.