For over a decade, I’ve been riding a chestnut mare at farms north of Milwaukee. As I’ve been thinking into rituals, I realized that the process of riding a horse is full of ritual. These patterns are soothing to both animal and human, preparing mind as well as body for the work.
It turns out that photographing these rituals is somewhat complicated – especially when one part of the ritual is a 1200 pound creature wondering if the camera would taste of carrot. But, one day about a week ago, I managed to capture the first ritual that I’ve come to associate with riding: getting there.
It’s about a 45-50 minute drive to the barn where I ride. Before I leave, I get dressed in my riding gear, including my beat up paddock boots. I love how the boots are still shiny and supple where they’ve been protected by the chaps I wear.
Then I drive from my home in the city, through the suburbs and finally out to the farm country that covers much of Wisconsin. The change in scenery works its way into my spirit as well, changing my pace and getting me ready for the physical work to come.
While I often wish I lived closer to the horses, I can’t help but appreciate the transitional head space this drive offers.