Eighteen-year-old Tanzy Hightower knows horses, has grown up with them on Wildwood Farm. She also knows not to venture beyond the trees that line the pasture. Things happen out there that can’t be explained. Or undone. Worse, no one but she and the horses can see what lurks in the shadows of the woods.
When a moonlit ride turns into a terrifying chase, Tanzy is left to question everything, from the freak accident that killed her father to the very blood in her veins. Broken and confused, she turns to Lucas, a scarred, beautiful stranger, and to Vanessa, a charming new friend who has everything Tanzy doesn’t.
But why do they seem to know more about her than she knows herself? Is she really Tanzy? Or someone new? Was she ever Tanzy? And how will she choose between the many realities she’s coming to know?
Why everyone should learn to ride a horse ~ Jadie Jones
Being in the saddle reminds me a lot of life in general. There are some things you can reasonably predict: If I squeeze my legs, the horse will most likely go forward, and if I pull on the reins, the horse will most likely slow down. And then there are some things you can’t, like a herd of deer leaping over the rail, bounding across the arena, and springing out on the other side while the horse I’m on completely loses its mind. In a nut shell, it’s life. We can plan all we want, go through the motions, do the right things, but you never know what’s coming with the next heartbeat.
Life and riding both require careful balance, exerting energy and effort for a desired outcome all the while acknowledging that your “control” is a glorified smoke screen. I know how to ask a horse to move nearly every part of its body. I am paid to help horses learn how to do this more effectively and efficiently. But at the end of the day, I still weigh about one tenth of the horse I’m on. If a horse really, really wants to do or not do something, they’ll win. The second you forget that, life has a way of reminding you.
On the flip side, learning to ride a horse requires a person to be willing to challenge themselves in many ways. Physically, it’s extremely demanding. Contrary to popular belief, riders are not merely passengers. Riders balance mostly in their lower legs, and are encouraging movement and direction from a +1000 pound animal. It’s a blast, but it’s not easy. The bigger battle is in the mind. A little fear is healthy, but too much makes you timid, and there’s nothing to be gained by being timid in life or in the tack. Oppositely, a little bravado is required to push yourself to the next level, but too much may end with a dirt facial. Horses are the best way to learn a little humility and respect, both of which are good life lessons.
Then, of course, there’s the relationship aspect. Horses are just… different. They’re smart, intuitive. If you ever want to see a true mirror of yourself, interact with a horse. They can see through you, reflecting what they see within. Tense riders yield tense horses. Hot-headed riders will light up the laziest things on four feet. But when someone gets on a horse and has a steady heart and a calm mind, a horse often visibly relaxes, stretches out its neck, swings more freely at the shoulder and hip. Teaching people to ride is much more complex than teaching a horse to be ridden because a person has to be willing to accept the effect their mood has on the performance of a horse. It’s not easy to explain to someone how to be responsible for the energy coming from within themselves. But it’s so important to be aware of while on the back of a horse and on our journeys through life.
Horses can tell you your own secrets. They’ll teach you to battle down your demons. They can show what it’s like to truly accomplish something with your body, mind, and soul. They can take you places you never could’ve imagined – and Moonlit is living proof of that.
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