Monday, June 29, 2020
Teaching is a big part of my life. In my practice as a studio artist, I'm mostly alone, so teaching gives me a way to be with people. I have the ability to see and understand, at whatever level my students are at, what they need and I feel connected and close to the people I work with in ways we don't normally get to be. My ego seems to shrink to next to nothing, and without that old ego bobbing up and getting in the way, incredible things often happen with my students, not always, but more often then not. I often feel as if I have mind-melded with them, and can see exactly where they need to go because of it.
With Covid 19, my teaching is on hold. All workshops and classes have been cancelled this spring and into the summer. In September of 2020 Anderson Ranch is going to try using our class as a test to see if it’s possible to teach with face coverings and social distancing. It's still not for sure if we will have enough students, and I think we are all nervous about the outcome. I don't know if we will all be able to stay on the horse and ride, or if distancing and the uncomfortableness of wearing a face mask will cause us to all slide off, landing in the dirt and dust on the ground as the horse takes off.
Sunday, June 14, 2020
At a very tender age, I went into intense negotiations with my parents: I would give up my bottle if I could have a pair of cowboy boots. Next were horseback riding lessons starting from the age of four. By about age six, our family moved to a house in the country where we could have horses and since my mother had kept a horse every summer in Colorado when she was a girl, she always made it a priority that I would have a horse as well. I started with Rio Grande, graduated to Hondo Bay, then a neighbor's horse, Charm, then a gift from another neighbor of Rebb, a retired race horse. So I put in my 10,000 hours (as Malcolm Gladwell says), and was as comfortable on a horse as any person could be. My horses were my best friends as well as being my main mode of transportation. I spent most of my time alone with them, and that's what carried me into those other worlds where my imagination and my curiosity could rule the day. But, as I got older and had children of my own, my life moved me away from horses and I went on without them.
This winter I met a lovely woman who had a horse that needed riding, "Stormy", a young gray gelding. What started out as a casual offer to ride, has now turned into a consistent, regular part of my life, not to mention that, like the teenager I once was, I have fallen head over heels in love with this lovely, goofy, sweet, and talented guy. That world has reopened up for me, and I find myself learning about horses in new ways, understanding how they work with the brain of an adult as opposed to one of a child--entire new philosophies have emerged about how to treat and train horses. But mostly, I find that I take a huge amount of pleasure and joy from, once again, having a horse in my life.