along with my halter—when I walked into the field an hour
earlier? Was I exuding peace, love and happiness or ... some-
I remembered interviewing legendary dressage trainer and
sports psychology expert Jane Savoie once. She taught me all
about how a rider—in or out of the saddle—can change how
she feels with breathing exercises.
I thought about my Bikram yoga classes. I closed my eyes.
Inhale for six counts, belly rise. Exhale slowly. Maybe six
minutes went by. I opened my eyes and refocused on the soft,
shimmering green trees that envelope the field. I felt better.
I reached into the bucket and ran my hands through the sticky half-a-handful
of grain left. My mind had cleared. I thought about leaving the field without my
horse, and how that was OK. I’d come back in the morning and try again.
The other horses had long grown bored with me. They grazed and stomped
at flies. I turned to walk back up the hill to the gate. That’s when my teacher
I stopped and turned around. Without thinking, I held out an empty hand. I
could feel his breath on my palm. Really? I thought. I had to go through all that?
He licked a bit of grain off my hand. I exhaled. Then I walked back a few steps,
giving him room to choose to come with me. A model of patience, he shuffled his
beautiful feathered feet toward me and touched my hand again.
A freelance writer and children’s author based in Washington, D.C., KITSON JAZYNKA contributes
regularly to Horse Illustrated. Her horses enjoy the good life in nearby Potomac, Md.
Wonder Woman had moved on to
hosing her sweaty, perfect horse. Eliza
was still waiting for me, now walking
her horse in the ring.
A string of punishing thoughts
pulsed through my head. I can’t catch
my horse! My horse hates me! Sell this
horse! Someone else could do better
with this amazing horse! I should do
better training this horse! Spend more
time with this horse! Windy (my dearly
departed mare) would never have done
this to me!
For the record, I am not selling
my horse. But in that moment, I felt
the sweat on my back and on my
face. My feet felt hot in my black
paddock boots. My fingers clenched
That’s when I remembered
something I’d seen on TV. It was a
documentary about equine therapy
and how a horse working with a
person reflects how the person feels.
Was my horse’s sour humor merely
a reflection of my own? Had I slung
my bad mood over my shoulder—
YOUR HORSE LIFE
I realized the
ears, and not my
horse’s. I needed
to change my
attitude to turn the