Holding Your Horses

A few years ago I attended a Cavalia production. Think Cirque du Soleil, on horseback. It was two hours of breathtaking imagery, celebrating the ancient bond between horses and humans. A sensory feast, it captured the imaginations and hearts of the audience, and I was spellbound the entire time. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

There was one act in particular that took my breath away, for both the exquisite beauty, and the emotional impact.

There was a team of six horses, harnessed together in pairs, and the woman holding the reins was standing on the backs of the last two horses. The troupe was galloping around a huge circular ring, and as they rounded each curve, the rider continued to keep one foot on the back of each horse, leaning in to maintain her balance. Around and around and around they went, faster and faster and faster. With every cycle around, it appeared to become increasingly challenging for the rider to maintain her footing on both horses.

Finally, as the horses rounded another curve, the rider stepped fearlessly and flawlessly onto the back of one of her horses.

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She knew exactly when to step off of the back of one horse, and plant herself solidly onto the other.

I think of this beautiful act often. Of the attention and energy it took for the rider to maintain her balance on the backs of two horses while continuing to drive the entire team, the wisdom to know when to step off of one and onto the other, and the courage to take that step.

When faced with decisions and potential change, we are often required to keep a foot on both horses, straddling the present and the future, as we hold onto the reins to guide us into what awaits us as we round the curve. It takes energy and attention to maintain our balance, wisdom to know when to step off, and courage to take that step, planting ourselves firmly on the one horse that will carry us forward.

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shutterstock_349726244