The Meaning of Horse Time

I slide open the door to Emanon’s stall, step inside and lean up against the slotted wooden beams. I have just finished teaching my last lesson of the day. I’ve already walked through the barn and checked each horse to make sure everyone was safe and sound for the night. All of the riding lessons I taught went well, but it was definitely a long day. I’m in a rush to leave.

Emanon turns his head in my direction and slowly walks over to see me. He locks into my blue eyes with his huge earthy brown ones and I feel like he can tell that I’m tired and in a hurry. He puts his soft nose through my hair then rests it in the corner of my neck. He stays like that. As soon as I start to move, I feel him push the weight of his head down into the corner dip between my neck and shoulder very gently. Like he’s trying to hold me still. I think it’s funny that he’s doing this so I just become still. Emanon’s in no rush to go anywhere. So he continues to surrender his head into the crook of my neck, inhaling and exhaling his slow deep horse breaths. I am sure he’s trying to tell me to stop moving. Slow it down. Take your time. When he does this I feel my whole body unwind, let go and relax. He instinctively knows what I need and he gives me the gentle gift of comfort.

Why am I always rushing from moment to moment? Where I am going so fast?

Earlier today I was giving a riding lesson to Lisa. She is 8 years old and made of sweet smiles surrounded by curly sun washed hair. At one point during the lesson, we stopped and started talking. As she petted her horse, Lisa said “I wish I had a time machine.” I asked her why. She answered “If I did I would turn it back four years.” I thought this was an interesting concept for an eight year old to come up with, so I asked her why she needed a time machine. She said “Because my Grandma would be alive and I would be able to see her again.” Then she told me how much she used to love to spend time with her Grandma. Once when she was four, she put on her Grandma’s makeup. She applied black mascara to her lips, and pink lipstick on her eyes. When her Grandma saw her, she laughed so hard. Then together they washed Lisa’s face and helped her clean up. When Lisa was telling me the story she lit up with happy memories that were stored inside. Again I ask myself the question, why hurry through anything?

So instead of leaving, I take my favorite horse Emanon out of his stall. We walk up the hill as the sun settles down for the night. While he eats the sweet smelling grass, the sky streaks with the color of butterfly wing blue. Isn’t it funny how sunsets can look just like sunrises?

Endings can look a lot like beginnings.

It doesn’t make a difference how fast we run, how slow we drag our feet, how hard we try to hold on to a moment, or how hard we try to push it away. Everything comes at the right time. Everything goes at the right time. That’s just the way it is. So relax and take all the time you need. Stop. Take a deep breathe. There is no hurry. The rhythm is already perfect. And that’s the meaning of “Horse Time”.

Dana Mase is the founder and executive director of Ride Kind Therapeutic Riding, and equestrian director for The Ranch at Bethel, a therapeutic boarding school for girls. Dana’s column, called “Horse Time,” teaches inspirational life lessons learned from working with horses and people.“ Horse Time” is featured in numerous worldwide publications. Dana can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at 845-356-1464.