Monday, January 26, 2015
Friday had TAO responding to an invitation to present his work to a Foundation for the Arts, that recently opened in San Francisco. This group originated in France and are based in the hills that rise up behind Nice and Cannes, on the road to St Paul de Vence.
I volunteered to drive TAO and drop him off by the door of the Gallery as his knee is barely functioning now and it would be impossible for him to park and walk anywhere on his own. The fact that these are French speaking Gallery folks meant that I didn't have to go with him to translate and TAO could call my cell phone to be collected, when he was done. I do feel a bit like The Country Mouse when I have to broach the City. I had upgraded my look to include "interesting shoes" and a clean T-shirt, which is about as fashion forward as I can go.
Initially more a case of recognition of this being one of my "Line in the Sand" moments that no amount of guilt tripping and sulking would change, we have reached the stage where TAO will tag along and enjoy the beauty that often surrounds horsy pursuits.
On Saturday morning we drove for an hour to reach a private ranch where Lusitano horses are bred and raised for Dressage competition. These big, beautiful Portuguese horses are often Grey with huge intelligent eyes and flowing manes. I was allowed to ride Leon, who is black. He's retired from competition and is the schoolmaster on which the owner of the horses can check out new riders without endangering her horses, or the humans who beg to ride them.
I was nervous the night before, worried in case I would not make the grade. They only take on pupils who are realistic about their own abilities and open to learning more of the science and art that is dressage. I had been warned that they did not take on beginners.
The young woman who worked with me and others who work full time nurturing and schooling these gorgeous beasts, are imports from Austria and Germany. The horses have stable areas with vibrating floors, heat lamps etc. and the hoses with which to wash them have warm water options.
Apart from a couple of involuntary Piaffes, when I was supposed to be asking for canter, Leon and I got along just fine. I could probably ride him for years and still have things that he could teach me. I am to be permitted to return to this magic kingdom to repeat the experience and even ride other steeds in the future.
As we drove away afterwards, I tried to explain to TAO the feeling that I have rejoined my Tribe, after a long absence, and I have been made welcome.
We were done with the horse experience before noon and (having changed into clean clothes at the roadside) headed out towards the coast . We had lunch in Davenport, where the food is good. I had a leek and artichoke lasagna and TAO had the fish stew. We also allowed ourselves most of a bottle of a crisp Rose wine. I left my vehicle parked for a couple of hours and visited the beach after lunch, while TAO snoozed in the sun-slathered car.