Monday, April 12, 2010

Monday School

Dar had school yesterday, just a short session on the longe line followed by some quick in-hand work before the farrier arrived to trim his feet. My last lingering question about his health was answered when the farrier found no thrush and told me Dar has nice, solid not-so-draft-horse feet.

It was a Trinity afternoon, more jamming on the horses, the money, the horses. The three of us sat outside at the picnic table. The sun was perfect. That picnic table is near Dar's paddock. My doofus likes people and is in equal parts attention-seeking, nosy, friendly and hammy. He came again and again to the fence to stare at us and pine. Finally, though, he gave up, wandered away, laid down and dozed. I'd never seen him lying down before. In seconds, he was out, deeply asleep.

Back to school this evening. The wind shifted and brought a temperature drop and flicking rain. Dar was keyed up. He trotted in circles at the gate, impatient for me to come get him. Scout and I have our deep bond, yes, but Dar is the horse that comes quickly when I call his name. I opened the gate, slipped in and haltered him. We walked across the newly-lush lawn. He knows now not to graze when we're working.

We had an excellent surprise session of Monday School tonight. Dar was energized by the wind and wet. He didn't focus. In the background, Scout, Gambler and Keely bucked, reared and tore around their paddock, playful and squealing. They presented a strong distraction. E sent Dar forward on the longe. They had words. She sent him forward again, insisting in her patient, thorough way.

But why? They are playing! I can play too. I will play.

She sent him forward. It took time to tune him to her, but of course, she did. Then there was work. Slowly, he relaxed his neck. He began to chew and think. There was some walk-trot and lots of walk-halt. I could see him getting it. That's happening with our sessions now, that if I'm the one watching, I have the chance to see how he processes what is being asked of him.

So I'm standing there in the wind and pellety rain, and it comes to me: I can't wait to ride him. I just want to get on him. And that's the thrill of it, of him, for me. Once I got to the place where Scout frightened me, I never had that feeling, that unmistakable involuntary impulse to just get on and ride her.

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