Tuesday, October 26, 2010
The horse I see
Sometimes it gets really frustrating owning an OTTB. "Oh, he's having a good day." "Lena must be rubbing off on him." "It's hot, so he's quieter."
There are some people who will never, ever be able to see how far Bar and I have come. They will only remember where we were--nearly three years ago--and that he's a Thoroughbred, so any good behavior must be attributed to something else. The stars being perfectly aligned, maybe? I know this, and yet it still manages to get under my skin. Steve tells me to let it go and he's right--it's just hard to do when I work with this horse every day and know, feel, see, sense who and how amazing he really is.
For example, after Bar's ground work tonight (I'm not riding because I'm still sore from being squashed by LENA, thank you very much), I climbed up on him bareback, with just the halter. My crazy Thoroughbred and I just stood and pondered the deepening colors of the sky outside the arena. We heard another rider come up the alley way--another Thoroughbred no less--and still he stood. Then we heard Lena and Katie coming up the driveway from their post-work trail ride. And still he stood. In fact, he cocked a back leg and relaxed even further.
Those are both things that, yes, originally would have been cause for dancing and snorting, possibly even nuclear explosions. I was prepared for it all, but consciously stayed calm and still up there on his back while he checked out the situation. I was rewarded by a horse who was alert, but settled and responsive.
No. I didn't run him into the ground in the round pen. (Hard to do and no fun in any case.)
No. He wasn't in any different humor than he normally is.
He is a good horse. He wants to please, and he does a damn good job of taking care of me.
He spooked today, at twilight in his pen, while standing six inches from me. Did he run into me? Did he shove me into the side of his corral? No. He jumped in place, felt my fingertips on his flank, and stopped.
My mom says it's because he loves me and perhaps, in his way, he does. Or maybe he just knows and trusts me the way I know and trust him. Either way, it is working for both of us and that's really all that matters. The doubters, the naysayers, will never understand and will never appreciate the gift this horse offers.
I'm beyond grateful that I do.
With special thanks to The Equus Ink for starting this conversation.