I was delighted to be invited out by classmate Camille to watch her train another classmate’s horse and daughter today. She’s an amazing teacher (who I’ve mentioned) and I will take every darn opportunity to watch her with horses. It never fails that I learn something that seems much more connected to life when I watch her teach. For instance, this time I learned that pulling your fingers into claws seems to be an instinctual sign of dominance from a human to a horse in order to get their attention and to assert authority.
[Meaning of course, I had to impress J with my very best claw imitation after I got home. I threw in a growl for effect, even though I don’t think that’s part of it.]
When we got out to N’s family’s ranch, I got a bit over giddy with showering love via carrots that N had brought, determined that even the shy, mottled donkey who kept getting nudged back by the rest of the crew, got one carrot of his own. I’m an equal opportunity animal lover.
In situations where I’m surrounded by animals, my ADD tends to show. As much as I was listening to the lesson in the round pen, the parade of animals kept tearing me away. I would bend to scratch my calf and a white cat would run into my hand. I would shuffle to a different angle around the pen and bump into a short, golden colored mutt. I’d turn my head from the dust kicked up from the hooves inside the pen and catch sight of a tabby I hadn’t yet hugged.
I turned to catch this huge, squat Labrador meander up past the pen. He was a ruddy chocolate and he was enormous. Barrel-chested and the ultimate image of how football quarterback would translate into dog, he had gentle intelligent eyes that almost spoke up to me, “So there’s this game tomorrow, see, my bets are on…”
I hadn’t even really expected to ride, but one of N’s family member pulled out a horse from the corral and tidied her up and then kept asking, “Wanna ride? She’s a good horse, she won’t bolt.” I hedged a bit, prodded N to get on, before my “Horsie? Me? Yay!!” excitement could not be contained any longer.
The ranch was a bit out of town and the mountains had a different angle and were tinged with a blue. It was blustery, but the dirt just rode waves across the ground and through my hair and I just let go. For about ten minutes, I let go… and let Horse.