Sunday, January 06, 2008

Racehorse reading

I just started a book called My Racing Heart by Nan Mooney. Very (very) simply, it is - according to the back cover description - a memoir about a woman and her journey into the world of Thoroughbred racing.

That's the synopsis, but what I like about it is her description of horses in general and racehorses specifically. I see Bar in what she writes, including her description of horses that stay playful no matter how old they get and horses that hum with that internal energy.

Mostly I just love reading writings from a woman who obviously loves, respects, and understands horses for what and who they are, someone who can so clearly express the balance between risk and exhilaration that comes with truly loving and enjoying horses. Not owning them, not just making them do what you want, but building a relationship with them that makes sense.

Bar is definitely a different horse than Lena is - complementary, but different. Lena's upbringing and training was so different that in some ways she's more mature than he is. And in some ways she is not. Bar seems to take things in stride that she doesn't, but she is calmer about other things that send him dancing sideways. He can back into something or swing into a garbage can the farrier puts there and he's fine, where she would skate sideways and blow big air through her nose. She can handle a sliding stop coming from behind her with nothing more than a flick of her tail.

Both are quintessential examples of distilled horse essence; both make me feel extremely gifted to know and work with such fine horses.

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