Thursday, November 19, 2009


Don't you hate it when something as mundane and useless as the stomach flu keeps you from seeing your horses?

My alpha mare doesn't mind. She's still settling in at the pony club barn. Naturally, she picked a fight with her new paddock buddy 10 days ago and caught a kick on the left hock. Same old same old. But I am looking forward to getting back on her. It's been more than a month since I've ridden. When you love to ride, your body almost tells you when it's been too long. There's a kind of shadowy ache, like the horse is a phantom limb.

I was telling a friend last night how traveling back and forth between these two horses seems to lend me confidence with both. I forget the familiarity I have with her, but it comes back to me when I'm handling him. His youth casts her maturity in a calming light. She and I have our habits.

I take both of them out of their stalls, clip them in cross ties, and groom, talking, talking the whole time. Scout loves that drill, settles into it and sighs. Dar, on the other hand, is still a little unfamiliar with such direct attention. The first weeks, he kept his head high. Little by little, though, look. The draw bridge is lowering. It's true, you can begin to win a horse through simple touch.

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