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:
Monday, January 26, 2015
Our weekend couldn't have distanced us further from the daily grind, even if it had a magic wand.
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.
How many posts have I written without mentioning hide, hair, nor hoof of a horse? I have finally carved out some acceptance, from those around me, of the fact that I need equestrian interaction on a semi-regular basis, if I am to fake it through the rest of life.
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.
The owner of the Ranch came out to meet us, with her flock of mismatched rescue dogs. She was extraordinarily kind to TAO and took him on a tour in her golf-cart. She brought him into the arena while I rode. There are huge, plush-cushioned seats and couches in and around the ring. One of the goats, that wander freely, pulled a cushion onto the floor and very nearly peed on it, but missed. A young Dromedary was enjoying the sun in a nearby paddock and a couple of Zebras' braying added to the impression of having passed through the looking glass.
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.
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.