Yesterday morning I was really stressed out, PTSD, from the professional credential exam I had to take on Thursday plus some work chaos and silly griping from co-workers who really need to just move on. In short, I wasn't moving on from all of that crap. It's exhausting to hang on to crap, consequently I was on the fence about going to my volunteer gig because I just didn't feel like I could concentrate enough to do a good job. But the thing is moving on requires moving away from the thoughts that are stressful and negative. That means DO SOMETHING ELSE! It's hard, really hard because inertia weighs more than gravity. A little encouragement plopped me on the right side of the fence and I went.
The sun came out, the horsemanship director greeted me on arrival, there were only 2 girls for the lesson, and we got to use the outdoor arena. Lisa, the horsemanship director, is attempting to introduce a new mare to the herd so for the groundwork part of the lesson we observed the new mare in the indoor arena with her stall neighbor, a sensible quarter horse draft cross mare. I thought I knew a little bit about horse behavior in herds but I really don't. If I think back to when I had my own horses at home (25+ years ago), the older gelding was the boss over my younger mare but he was kind and didn't really boss her around much. Since then my horses have been boarded and in their individual stalls and turnout paddocks. Occasionally horses get moved around if they're not good neighbors but I haven't witnessed that behavior because I'm not there all the time. I have been way more focused on the horse-human interaction so this short observation yesterday was good. The sensible mare was the leader, even if she wasn't bossy at all. She had that quiet demeanor that good leaders have.
The riding lesson part was fun too. The girls needed different things to work on so Lisa let me work individually with one of the girls who was having trouble with balance and steering at the same time. She worked with the girl whose hands were going against the horse's mouth at the canter. I asked my student what she felt like she was having most trouble with and she said that keeping her horse on the rail at the canter was hard. So first I had her work on balance and steering at the same time at the walk, in two-point. Then steering and balance when transitioning down from posting trot to walk. And finally canter. I saw an improvement and she seemed happy with what she learned.
Since this place is a Christian Camp we always end the lessons with a short devotion. This has been uncomfortable for me because I lost my religion a long long time ago. A long long time ago I couldn't do anything right and was confessing my sins constantly but not being able to avoid sinning. I've since learned that the greatest problem about sinning is that it destroys yourself more than anyone else. Also, I'm an educated scientist and the conflict between creation and evolution was too much for me. Now there are lots of scientists who are Christian and don't see any conflict between creation and evolution provided that the bible is interpreted as allegory or metaphor and not literally, like an instructional document. One of my UCLA professors summed up the difference between science and Christianity very tidily: the bible provides the morals and ethics on how to live while science explains how things work. There's no reason why the two should conflict as religion can't explain how things work and science doesn't provide morals and ethics. And that's my basis for getting along in situations where the beliefs about Christianity are more prevalent than science. Mostly I don't say anything but plant myself that place of agreement.
Warm Beach CC is a place of welcome and non-judgement. The prevailing attitude is that you can accept gifts from God because they are available to you but no one is forcing you. I can be on board with that. Lisa also is able to bring horses into the devotional time, mostly gratitude on what magnificent beings they are and how they help us be kind, patient, and observant. In other words, horses make us better people. It's positive and peaceful. I can be on board with that too.