“For the young, the practice of equitation is a valuable lesson, as it requires the exercise of all human virtue. If they are introduced to the practice of riding by understanding and patient teachers, then they too will develop these traits. The young rider grows to realize the horse is a partner rather than a slave who also deserves love and understanding.” – Nuno Oliveira
Horses are remarkable creatures. They are sensitive, intelligent and immensely powerful, all of which is willingly yielded to a sensitive and skilled horseman.
While I did not have the privilege of riding horses in my youth, I have of late endeavored to spend as much time in the saddle as life permits. I feel tremendously privileged to train with an understanding and patient teacher and my kind and uncomplaining horse invariably inspires me to embody the human virtues I hold so dear in mind and heart.
Riding master Nuno Oliveira couldn’t have spoken more truly than when he said: “…the practice of equitation is a valuable lesson as it requires the exercise of all human virtue.” In my own experience on horseback I’ve noticed that courage, prudence, compassion, wisdom and resolution have helped me gain a better understanding of the subtleties of this art. The understanding and harmony of horse and rider can improve over time, especially if the rider devotes himself to the study of human virtue, first and foremost.
5 thoughts on “A Valuable Lesson”
Horses are subtle creatures. Learning to ride a horse is about being a leader, and there are many lessons in common with leading people. You can intimidate and bully a horse to bend to your will, but will never have the performance that you could if the horse works willingly. It is learning to craft this relationship with the horse, which is a combo of physical, mental, and emotional cues, that is the ticket to true equitation.
Each moment we have the privilege and opportunity to bring the fullest of virtue to bear on our circumstance. Each day presents several opportunities to allow our spirit (virtue) to bear on our Horse, (the body). Our centering is key here, for as when riding, the connection between horse and rider is compromised when the riders orientation is off. The same is true in Living, for when our centering is off the connection between Spirit and body, (Who we are, and what we have) are compromised the same. I appreciate deeply this recognition, and thank-you for bringing it to point. I look forward to gracefully deepening the connection, with the truth of who I am, and recognize some area’s where repentance is necessary that this occur. (Which I will email you later) Thanks Gregg!
I think there is nothing more valuable than to first support then give voice to virtue, wherever you may be so fortunate to find it!
The first time I tried riding a horse, the owner assured me that I was fine without any training. However, the horse knew better and shortly after we left the stable, he turned around and took me back. (That was fine by me!) You mention that you found that the qualities of courage, prudence, compassion, wisdom and resolution helped you understand and harmonize with the horse over time. What you’ve found to be true in effectively working with others has proven to be true with horses. Our capacities need training and I’ve found the content of your daily blog very helpful in this regard.
I’ve only had the pleasure of riding a few times but I imagine the bond between certain animals and their masters may offer this depth of communion. I’ve had experiences caring for dogs that I think made me a better person. I guess our powerful relationships with animals give a hint at the power and connection that can happen between people if we meet on the level of acceptance and care.