............." Polo is karma. I believe. Its also about a way of life. People notice the frills but there is much more. It's dedication. It is love. It's care and it's passion. It is about rewarding and it's teaching. Learning all along forever. And it's a great sorter: The shallow ones become players. Lucky ones become human. Horses teach a lot. Actually the best lessons of life if you think, are learnt in quiet and without spoken words. Experiences."
Nothing speaks a deeper truth to me about the spirit of what we have to learn from nature's noblest steed.
It made me recall my childhood : I think I spoke horse as much as they spoke to me as early as the the age of three. My father's days of horsemanship began in the Swiss army. He brought his love of the equestrian arts, as well as his razor sharp, hair-breadth precision engineering alacrity with him to Africa. He found himself colliding with a differently spirited universe than his own for most of his life as he lived it; yet the disparities, the complexities and the ubiquitous elasticity of the African mind and heart - which he understood as little as he did the African soul, melted, when the two worlds met in equestrian realm. It was the one context within Africa in which he could truly find himself again. And so it was that to all intents and purposes that I effectively grew up in the stables.
His stallion was a dapple grey wonder of a horse to my miniscule universe. I was sole adventurer of that mysterious space between his fore and hind legs, curtained by the lengths of an unfathomable tail and ceilinged by the softest belly of a sky. I was herded too by his sturdy jawline.
My father used to tell me how I was the only one ever allowed near the stallion's hind legs. It never failed to chuff my tiny pride. I knew even then I enjoyed an unusual privilege of freedom within this personal animal space. I knew the horse loved it as much as I did.
My father though never though gave in to my pleas to be placed in the saddle on my own. I was allowed the topside view only occasionally, when he'd saddle me with him for a few paddock rounds. It was by far never ever enough. He and my mother rode for years. She had a beautiful black mare yet I was never allowed near her. And I didn't notice how that was the beginning of a door being shut on me.
Polo was my father's domain and I never understood why I was never allowed to accompany him to matches, yet, I was allowed to sit in the back rungs of spectator stands for hours on end, bored to death,through endless Swiss Rifle Club weekends. The fact that he was a superb marksman and that he collected medals like smarties added salt into my childhood wound. My father,for all his superb horsemanship, had not noticed, or hid it superbly well, was that for me, horsemanship was and always had been about the very subtle art of the bodytalk.
I went on to dance at the age of seven...I was allowed because somehow it was rationalised I stood chance of less injury in toe shoes than in a saddle... Even without knowing consciously at such a young age, the bond between my father's stallion and I had been crafted and moulded from touch. Movement,gestures, glances and breathing were the whisperings of each other's secrets to one another, in full view and yet so utterly invisible to the naked eye.
The other day, an airline pilot quipped me a question and asked what it is I whisper to horses. The question made me smile: It's not so much what I whisper to horses, I replied, it's rather what they whisper to me. I doubt I'll ever stop learning. I know I will never stop listening....
Causes Renee Sigel Supports
The Grossman Burn Unit