The Secret Trail

When I go to the horse farm I feel like I am stepping inside a French impressionistic painting. Surrounded by an intensity of beauty that seems slightly unreal, my senses wake up. I finally feel Spring. I sense it in the light. I can touch it on the breeze. This past winter has been rough. But today the horses are finally busy playing in their muddy paddocks. Woo hoo! We are all very happy.

Spring always transports me back home to my childhood in Ohio. This was the best time for taking my horse Tigger on the secret trail in the woods.

After my riding lesson, Tigger and I would go on a walk to find this specific trail that was hidden behind some giant trees. After finding the entrance to the trail (which, I should mention, we couldn’t always find), Tigger and I would enter the forest. It was like stepping through a portal into another world. Immediately the light would shift into a soft shade of pastel pink. The colors in the woods were intense and alive. The air was strongly scented with the spring changes. The sun would streak diagonally through the pine branches and toss diamonds of light across our path. My horse and I would walk between the shadows and the sunlight. The trees were reaching down and covering the trail as if it were an umbrella protecting me and Tigger from a downpour. Then the path would narrow and thicken. This is where it got good because I couldn’t see an inch in front of me. The trail would quickly wind around one way and then swing the other way. Tigger was the only one who could see. So it was a matter of trust for me. When the branches got low, I would lay flat against Tigger’s neck and hold on. He would always speed up and before I knew it, he would be cantering through the winding path and I would just put my arms around his chestnut neck, (so I wouldn’t get knocked off by a branch), hang on and close my eyes. I would completely trust him and let him go. It always took my breath away.

The trail ended up at the shore of Lake Erie. Both out of breath, we would stop and gaze across the lake. It was our private kingdom. I was a princess on my flying horse. It was pure awesomeness.

Somedays my path still remains unclear and foggy. All roads seem to wind. The trees block the light. This is the time for me to trust Hashem. When I have no idea what I am doing, I rely on Him to be my guide. He sees everything. The past, the present, the future. My vision is obstructed and limited. So I might as well relax. I will rest in knowing that I am exactly at the right place in the right time. So are you, my dear friend. Even if you are in the dark woods. And lost. You are never too lost. And remember, you are never all alone.

by Dana Mase

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.