Sunday, April 3, 2016

The Day it All Changed by Dan Sumerel

The Day it All Changed
by Dan Sumerel

They all say the same thing to warn you, “Don’t ever go riding alone,
You could fall and get hurt and lie bleeding in pain, as the horse goes off trotting for home”

And it all made good sense, to a novice like me, that the risk they describe was quite true
So I rode with my friends, being social and safe, ride the trails with a group, I would do

After all it was great to go riding with friends, we so liked to talk and have fun
We would ride in a safe group together, yes, that is how trail rides are done

But a sport I had seen, started calling, to do trail rides a whole different way
Endurance Rides seemed so appealing, do ONE HUNDRED MILES IN ONE DAY!

I must learn about riding endurance, the knowledge is now what I quest
Not just to ride far, but how to ride well, I must learn from one of the best

My good fortune brought me to a man, who was one of the best in the game        
He would teach me to ride for endurance, and my life would not be the same

The shock of the first thing he taught me, would challenge much of what I’d been shown          
He said the true key, to riding endurance, “You must ride a lot and you must ride ALONE.”

It is true that he was the teacher, but this idea of riding alone                             
Had me not just concerned of the danger, but afraid of being BORED to the bone

This would mean I’d be riding for hours, with no one to talk to at all
Just trees and rocks and trails to look at, in places no cell phone could call

The first ride alone, to condition my horse, wasn’t great and it wasn’t much fun
About three lonely hours going uphill and down, I was happy when it was all done

The second and third ride were all much the same, the fourth started out even worse
The sky was all dark, the wind such a chill, I felt winter to be quite a curse

Yet we rode as we must to condition ourselves, endurance is done in all weather
Then two hours out it started to snow, I had hoped that things would get better

All the trees and the ground, began to turn white, as thick giant snowflakes did fall
No wind did blow, not even a breeze, in fact there were no sounds at all

As I started to see that what lay ahead, was a miserable ride home in the snow
In the middle of nowhere, all by myself, my anger was starting to show

I hated this riding alone, by myself, this torture was not fun at all
Even the horse must be ready to stop, I worry we might slip and fall

Then I notice the horse that I’m riding, and the way he is trotting so free
As he seemed to be fine with our journey, all the trouble was coming from me

After all I was dressed quite cozy, prepared to be warm all the way
Not the least bit cold, nor slightest bit wet, I thought this might happen today

There was more that I seemed to be missing, like the feel of my warm horse below
And the way he was trying to tell me, we have nothing to fear from the snow

Our view was in fact one of beauty, like city folk dream to go see
Or something to put on a post card, a place you wished you could be

How could I miss what I’m seeing, I think Shazi was seeing it all
He now was beginning to canter, and he seemed to be having a ball

As if he were trying to show me, all the beauty I chose not to see
In the mountains and all of their splendor, a scene of such great majesty

So I looked at the green of the pine trees, and the soft white that fell from above
Where mountains met clouds and air was so fresh, there was much about winter to love

Then my mind again heard all the silence, that had troubled my thoughts so before
Though now I was finding it welcome, where before it had seemed such a bore

And the feeling alone, I had hated, seemed now distant, yet cruel and unkind
For now it was clear I was never alone, I had Shazi with me all the time

I could no longer say, “I go riding alone”, since that wonderful day in the snow
You can’t be alone, when riding a horse, we’re two friends with places to go

To the risk of not riding with others, yes I know that’s how most people feel
But riding a horse offers danger, a fact that’s inherently real

So the safest of rules I can tell you, what has saved me for so many years
Develop a bond and a mutual trust, to be stronger than all of your fears

To trust in my horse and he to trust me, since a day in the snow, far from home
We ride as a team, a man and a horse, no, NEVER do I ride alone.

© 2006 Dan Sumerel

Dan Sumerel lives in the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains of Salem, Virginia, USA. He is the author of the world-acclaimed equestrian manual Finding the Magic. He is the founder of Sumerel Training and Sumerel Therapy, equine programs that teach the necessities of riding.

Read Dan’s Riding & Writing interview here

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Beautiful poem and message too. Had to share this.