Thursday, August 11, 2011

Lizzy Traband (the One-Handed Horse Rider) Teaches Me Her Method

I'm driving way out into the country to a farm.  It's a nice afternoon to see some horses, and in Central Pennsylvania, you don't have to go far.  You leave a complex life and find quiet beauty out here. 

And this isn't just any farm.  

Lizzy Traband, a young girl born with one hand, lives at the farm we're visiting. One of my students (who rides at this barn) invites and escorts us. 

Lizzy Traband Teaching My Daughter to Ride

My daughters are nervous to meet her.  Lizzy was featured in American Girl magazine, and it feels like we're meeting a celebrity.  Once they meet her, there's nothing to worry about.  She's offering treats and friendship at the first encounter. 

For a whole afternoon, the girls follow Lizzy around.  You don't notice that she has one hand:  she's cleaning out stalls, feeding her horses, and performing tricks with her pony, Puddles.  The whole time, Lizzy's teaching me all about her technique called Taiji Horsemanship.  It's a method.  Her principles are simple:  kindness, stillness, communication, simplicity.  She teaches that "failure is a requirement of success" and that "you need a plan so you can ride with purpose."

Lizzy takes her time, steps back, and revisits simple rules.  She lives out her own method. 

As we drink lemonade together in the barn, I think more about what I've observed here:  Kindness, stillness, communication, and simplicity between horse and rider.  It's not just about horses; I realize the power of these principles in mothering and friendship.  I think about a writer's relationship to her own words or a photographer's interaction with the natural world.

I move out across the landscape more quietly, more kindly.  With this kind of stillness and simplicity, the colors do indeed seem all the more vibrant.

Lily at Carousel Fam

Journal:  If you approached your tasks and relationships like a taiji horseman, what would change? 


Patricia said...

What a perfectly delightful experience for all of you...and what a wise young woman. Thank you for sharing this with us, Heather.

That lily is gorgeous!

Ann Kroeker said...

Mmmm...this is how I like to live, with "kindness, stillness, communication, simplicity." Thanks for sharing Lizzy's philosophy of riding...and life.