Heather Hollemen

Lizzy Traband

Our afternoon with Lizzy Traband…..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.

Heather HollemenWriter of "Living with Flair"