Let us ride together, Blowing mane and hair, Careless of the weather, Miles ahead of care, Ring of hoof and snaffle, Swing of waist and hip, Trotting down the twisted road With the world let slip. Anonymous riding song.
Along for the ride:
Friday, November 1, 2013
Leave your dignity in the forest...
I usually whine and complain about what a waste of a riding lesson it is to play Halloween games on horseback. It probably has something to do with coming second in the egg and spoon race as a polite five year old; the "winner" having moved into my track lane. Years of hearing about myself running the rest of the race hopefully repeating "Excuse me please. Excuse me please" resulted in a deeply ingrained trauma and an aversion to looking foolish.
This year I've been happily working with a green (unschooled) horse, who came in without even the basics of how to walk in a circle. He also "floored" some riders by bucking when asked to canter. "Not fit for general population", he became my personal project horse. Chief Tenaya is a big peasant of a horse with an honest disposition. He's six years old, but his owner was too old to work with him and he'd been a pasture ornament rather than getting an education. He had to learn that people should not be knocked out of the way and that a horse should pay attention to the rider, not gaze around for something interesting to spook at.
I had signed up for some private dressage lessons and chose to ride Chief, rather than a more sophisticated mount. Circles and spirals, mostly at the walk, with a horse as big and stiff as a barge. To most people that doesn't sound like fun but, to me, the connection with an animal who is willing to learn and the small, incremental achievements on which to build his future, have always been my passion.
The action photo above is the culmination of our work so far. I've developed a mutual trust relationship with this horse and I'd been dreaming about riding him bareback for a while. Halloween seemed the perfect excuse. With a faded curtain as the basis for an outfit, I taped my tiara, some leaves and forest creatures (cat toys:) to my helmet and went as Princess "Leave your Dignity in the Forest" Tenaya. Some of the horses wanted to lunch on my leafy crown and others were distracted by the cat toys that squeaked with every step. Chief never blinked an eye at my cape flowing across his rump and he performed like a pro. We even beat some other teams to win the bending poles (slalom for horses).
After the first few minutes of strangeness without a saddle, Meatloaf, singing "It's all coming back to me now" started running through my head and then I simple forgot that I didn't have a saddle. The last time I rode bareback was when I had a horse of my own, over twenty-five years ago. I had so much fun, I'm debating whether or not to ever use a saddle again.
If I were a tree, I would be a London Plane. I am gregarious but enjoy solitude. I am English in my heart and soul, but still have room for other nations. I have lived in six countries and picked up a French husband along the way. We have a wonderful, kind, strong-minded daughter who has become a "Human of whom to be proud". I am a magnet for the lost. I foster collies (and collie cousins and the occasional, accidental, cat or crow). Those I have saved have saved me in return. I notice the world around me and often talk to strangers. Traveling alone is interesting, liberating and fulfilling. I am good at most things that I undertake but have few formal qualifications. I am able to have and treasure friends with whom I disagree about almost everything. My life is not over. Who knows where I am headed?
A ponyism is one of Life's Truths perceived from the perspective of an Effing Pony: - Life's a Bluff! - Those who aspire to make their mark on this world must expect to scrape some skin on the walls of experience. - The greatest value of money is as the currency of Hope.
- To be an Ass or an Asset, that is the question?
-Selective memory is but the first step on the path to magical thinking.
-Not all Baggage comes with wheels. -When your hero is a horse you are less likely to be disappointed than were he a human.
-Unfortunately, great wealth does not always equate with class.
-A dick, surrounded by puppies, remains a dick. -What better antidote to evil than kittens? -Any time you have something heavy, ready to drop, your cat will sit right below and look up at you.