The Timid Rider
Confessions of a Timid Rider

Finding My Zen In and Out of the Saddle

Confession: I’m not religious but I am spiritual.

I find time in the saddle especially on the trails is extremely grounding. There is something about being in the middle of the woods away from cars, noise, and technology that speaks to my soul. Doing that on horseback? I can’t think of a better way to spend me time.

Timid Rider EZ Ride Caged Stirrup

I have always found this to be true. Some may consider me high maintenance (I do love my luxuries). Yet my earliest memories are of me slipping away to the large park near my home and venturing into the unpopulated creek to sit on the damn and read, catch bullfrogs, or simply appreciate the moment. I would leave feeling recharged and capable of taking on almost anything.

Living in Queens and working for year’s in New York City with the noise, people, and endless energy was as exhausting as it was invigorating. I sought refuge in Central Park often and became a docent at the Central Park Zoo to spend my time in nature.

One of my favorite things about Mongolia is the way it feels so separate from the modern world. While there I don’t have much downtime but choose to take a few minutes for myself at sunrise or sunset to sit on the earth and appreciate my surroundings as well as check in with myself.

For many years I did not realize how important my relationship with nature was and how I needed to seek the time to maintain a sense of peace in my life. It is so easy to get lost in the quick rhythm of life as a mother and entrepreneur causing me to be out of balance. As a result this directly affects my mental health and sense of confidence. Some friends who had not seen me in awhile noted that I looked unhealthy and had gained weight. It was hard to hear but I knew it was true. I’d been so focused on work that I wasn’t prioritizing my health or my family. Harsh truths. It wasn’t just physical as I knew that my mental health and anxiety were a reflection of the physical and likely the cause as well.

It's okay to put yourself first. If you don't, who will? Share on X

It’s important to have a reminder that I need to put myself first sometimes. Taking some time to have a massage, go to a movie, or spend time with my family instead of doubling down to meet an arbitrary work deadline is not going to hurt anyone.

Finding My Zen Equestrian- The Timid Rider
© Jamie Baldanza

At the core of it my goal is to heal animals. In many ways I channel the feeling of grounding when I work with them and it energizes me. This is what feeds my soul and makes me incredibly happy. I find the sessions are as positive for me as they are for my clients. Yet, I haven’t been focused on building this side of my business because I’ve been distracted and focused on other things.

My amazing family

It’s necessary to check in with myself every once in awhile and realize what is most important. Not appreciating my own needs not only affects me but directly affects the people in my life. If I don’t take the time to ground myself, have down time, or simply appreciate the moment I am short-tempered, erratic, and unhappy. And for what? I don’t work to survive. I work because I love it. So why am I letting it take over my life? I need to place better boundaries and better balance the important things in my life. While it’s not easy it is necessary and something I really have not done.

I choose to put myself first. To feed my body and mind with the things that make me stronger and more grounded. To focus on the important things and not involve myself in the things I cannot control. In doing so, I hope to become a stronger person and one that will grow in confidence in and out of the saddle. Tuning in to myself will only allow me to tune into my horse more. After all a Zen mind equals a Zen body.

What do you do to prioritize yourself?

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