Well, guys, my minor ailment actually turned into a semi-major one, and I’m unable to type for most of this week because my finger looks like someone ran over it with a car. Being a writer, this is no doubt a cramp on my style. (I’m talking into an iPhone to compose this post, but it just doesn’t compare!) I’m going to have to interrupt our regular programming, which is a pity because I had some nice topics I was going to cover. So instead…picture post! This one is dedicated to my favorite horse at the barn where I ride.
This is Mister. He is basically a lazy teenage boy in the body of a horse. He likes to come off the rail all the time, he hates cantering and trotting and he is always wanting to stop and snack at his favorite grassy patch. If he were a person, he’d be that kid that just wants to stay at home in front of his computer playing games or what not. He’s very smart, but uses his smarts to figure out how to get out of stuff. But I love him anyway. I have basically discovered that I am the type of rider that loves a challenge, and Mister is very challenging to ride. You constantly have to anticipate and head off his naughtiness, so it requires quick thinking and quick action and good instincts.
But even though he can be a butthead, I find him endearing. He is very curious. Here he is, coming towards me as I take a picture with my iPhone.
He sniffs my iPhone…
…and then he wants to eat it!
One of the most gratifying things about riding is not just the strength and absolute engagement you develop, but the bond you develop with such a swift, powerful animal. Mister is hard to ride, but I get better all the time with him, and that is because we are learning to read and trust each other. Mister was likely abused in the past, so he needs to learn to trust that I will always treat him consistently and with respect. And I need to trust that he won’t freak out and try to throw me. A lot of the other girls at the barn don’t like Mister because he’s a butthead sometimes, but there’s a few of us who are patient, and see good results with him. He doesn’t always want to work, but when he does, he’s loads of fun to sail around on.
One thing I’ve discovered when you ride consistently is that you can’t really fight the temperament of the horse you’re riding. No matter how awesome I get, Mister will always try to find a shortcut, he’ll always need some prodding to get going and he’ll always try to pull off his naughtiness. My riding gets better when I remember that I have to adjust my riding to his quirks, and once I calmly accept him, it’s like magic: the ride gets much smoother and then I don’t have to work as hard. It’s a good metaphor for most relationships and dealing with people, I think. How often have we wanted someone to change?
Anyway, Mister hasn’t been able to ride the past few weeks because he’s on rest, but I come and groom him and brush him and feed him treats. And subsequently have discovered his sweet side. Of course, that might disappear when I try to get him to stay on the rail the next time I ride him, but I try to savor those small triumphs, especially when they come in the form of a gentle nuzzle.