Sorry: No photos. We are riding indoors now because of winter weather. Camera flashes are not welcomed by newbie riders who prefer to remain on top of their horses.
“Do you want to ride Tequila again?” Sara, my new riding instructor, asked when I arrived last Saturday afternoon for my second lesson since leaving the world of horses 17 years ago.
“Okay! Go get him ready. He’s all yours!”
I like to get to the barn early to watch the lessons before mine, to have an opportunity to chat up the boarders and to revel in the piney-organic sweet smell of wood shavings and horse manure. Yes; you read it right. Horse manure is not altogether an unpleasant smell, you know, given our own delicate tendencies. Since it can show up any place, any time, it is best, at the very least, to not mind it. It is part of the Big Picture for us all, is it not? You haven’t really lived until you have had at least ONE “plum fight” in a horse barn. Besides, these memories serve me well during contentious business meetings.
Anyway, Sara told me to go ahead and tack up, which thrilled me no end. What I don’t want is to arrive to find my horse already saddled and bridled and ready for me to hop on, have my lesson, then slide off and motor on home while someone else cares for the sweaty animal I left behind. No, no; I want to do it all myself. I want my hands on furry hide, I want to pluck the mud chunks out of an obliging hoof with my pick; I want to warm an icy bit between my palms before slipping it between Tequila’s teeth into the groove put there by the Universe for this very purpose. I want to slowly tighten the girth so not to annoy him by pulling too tight or too quickly. For me, the lesson begins with the relationship with an animal on the ground; while I pass the brush over his coat, comb the wood chips out of his tail, talk about our time to come and, by the way, pass the carrots.
Works about as well as donuts at a meeting.