I have a younger brother who not so long ago during a phone conversation told me he was thinking of buying a horse. “A horse?” I asked with surprise. Although my brother lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where we both grew up, he has never been around or worked with horses. He told me he thought it would be a nice hobby.
Several weeks later my brother told me he had found a horse.
“Cool,” I say. “Tell me about it.”
The horse is four years old and beautiful, deep brown with a bit of white on its nose. He is able to board it at a stable twenty minutes from where he lives. I hear the excitement in his voice. He goes on to tell me he hasn’t ridden it yet because he has to buy a saddle and gear for it but will probably go out to the stable on the weekend and ride for the first time.
“Great, have a wonderful weekend with your horse,” I tell him.
My husband grew up with horses. Liam spent much of his youth in the mountains near Yosemite. His horse was named Shadow, and was a beautiful black Appaloosa. Liam has told me of the times as a boy when he would get up early to feed and water Shadow; he felt this time spent early mornings was never a chore but a beautiful expression of commitment to his horse.
After breakfast Liam would ride Shadow down the hill to the bus stop and Shadow would graze and wander on the hill until Liam returned from school and whistle. Shadow would trot down the hill to take the boy back home.
Shadow and Liam spent many years together, a boy learning and growing from a beautiful gentle horse. To this day when Liam talks of Shadow a quite resolve enters his voice.
When I spoke to my brother again I asked about his horse. “Oh, it’s going well, I get to the stable when I can and ride. I planned at first to go to the stable two or three times a week but lately I only get there once or twice a month.”
Liam rode Shadow every day. After their ride Liam would water and brush his horse. The two shared quiet moments beyond compare in a daily relationship that shaped and influenced Liam for a lifetime and beyond.
Several months passed before I again asked my brother about his horse and when I did he seemed surprised I remembered. “My horse? Ah, that thing was a drain. I ended up selling it. I just never had the time to go to the stable and ride as much as I would have liked. It got to be too much of a hassle and too much money for a hobby.”
I wonder if Yoga is a hobby for you, like my brother and his horse or a lifestyle that marks your day and life like Liam and Shadow?
Susan O’Connor is a practicing yogi who along with her husband owns a Yoga studio in San Diego, The Haven Yoga: thehavenyoga.com