Friday, October 30, 2009

Dar = To Give

They named this horse D'Artagnan. That's a great name for a joust horse or an adventurer, but not this boy. Who really is, I'm coming to understand, just a boy. "Dar," they called him, and so have I for the meantime. I looked it up tonight. It means "to give" in Spanish.

Names often come easily to me with animals. Cats have a way of announcing them. I hung my mare's name on her the day I met her; it was that plain to see.

Dar might be like a quasar, an energetic and distant galaxy. I see his energy coming up; I see his being holding back.

But we came far this week. As he begins to feel better, with steady food, regular deep grooming and necessary veterinary care, he's gaining strength. He has a long way to go, lots of muscle building, lots of flexing, lots of walking and trotting. But he's started. What feels as good as seeing an animal begin to bloom under good care?

Since the last post, we've advanced in our lunge work. Now Dar goes in a bridle and cavesson. Yesterday my wonderful trainer and I strapped a surcingle around his deep girth and suddenly my jouster transformed into a dappled circus pony. He likes the cavesson; it seems to make him feel secure. That's evident in his change of attitude. His ears stay active and often forward or swiveling toward me. He wears his mind, if not his heart, on his sleeve. He turns toward praise: "Who, me?" The cavesson keeps him light on his feet, light on the line. He works with less hesitancy, not so glum. He doesn't flee into a buck.

"Hello," he whiffles when I walk into the barn. "Hello, puppy," I say.

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