In my experience, it’s hard enough riding a horse, let alone without my full vision, missing an arm or leg, having seizures, or not being able to walk. So when I travelled to the Riding for the Disabled National Riding Competition, I came home with many new hero’s and a renewed awe at what the human spirit is capable of overcoming. I became…inspired.
At the riding centre where I volunteer, we have a few dedicated and accomplished riders who placed at the Regionals. It was exciting, and meant we were off to the Nationals. I was asked to come along as a volunteer assisting the horses, riders, and endlessly running back and forth fetching crops, numbers, the correct reigns and whatever else we forgot before entering the arena. And while standing ring side while our riders carried out exceptional dressage tests, did I tear up? Yes. And while watching our riders jump fences, did my heart swell with admiration and humility? Yes.
It’s ok to complain (in moderation which I’m still mastering). It’s ok to moan a bit about what is challenging for us and what we find frustrating (still working on the a ‘bit’ part…). It’s all relative after all. But while facing our own unique challenges, can we not watch our fellow man in his challenge and steep for those moments in something much bigger. Can we not look into that moment and see true courage, true grit, true focus and become…inspired.
Sometimes (a.k.a everyday), I feel the power and beauty that is created by the human to animal connection and once in a while (probably many times a week) get a wee bit misty (I’m allowed to say “wee” cause some of my ancestors were from Scotland like, 200 + years ago). But it’s not only about the animal connection, it’s also about the human connection. I love animals, but I like people. Ok, I mostly like people.
It’s all about the ampersand (&). To me it’s the middle, what lies in between, the connection. It’s what gets us from There to here. Them to us. Me to you. A bridge. Connection (you get the point). Horses, dogs, cats, baby rhinos, eagles, beetles, all have that & and can connect us to something much deeper. Anatole France says it well: “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakended.”
The RDA is just another way to connect. And what Otis & Roo loves the most, becoming better connected to each other, and the amazing animals that carry us through this life.
Kate Coffin is the founder and creative force behind Otis & Roo. As a child growing up, she found connection and inspiration through nature and animals. Her love of horses was the spark that led to a lifetime of passion for animals. Kate’s love of animals and a desire to create beautiful and unique products for them is what has become, Otis & Roo.