Many of you are well aware (some TOO aware, LOL) of the saga of myself and a six year old spotted Arabian gelding. No, Arabians do not come with spots, he's got some Paint in there, too, making those striking tobiano markings but he's mostly Arab. That is sometimes far too apparent!
I don't know what it is that happens when a person like me falls this hard for a horse. One. Particular. Horse. I am kind of like that, though. Fell for my husband the same way. Dunno. Anyway, I have been in love with this goofy horse since I laid eyes on him, and even though it sounds odd and maybe even a little sappy, he's got something going for me too.
We have been through hell and high water, but it looks like finally things are working out for a retired horse trainer and a young, high spirited gelding that thinks pretty much all the time and any time is play time.
When I haltered him up today, I breathed deep into his dusty neck, letting all the love and the "you finally belong to me, kid" energy I was feeling flow into him. I can't say he felt and understood all that, but he dropped his head and we had a . . . well, it was a snuggle moment and that's about all you can call it.
My friend, Kara Mehaffy was on her way over, we were riding the trails at the ranch today. I drove the wrong vehicle, leaving the one at home that had my saddle and gear stowed in it, so was borrowing a ranch saddle and hoping she'd have an extra bridle.
Royal and I had the best day. He was mellow and easy going. We rode all over the place and then went down to the indoor arena and played on the jumps and used the ground poles as sidepass obstacles. Another friend of mine had made a comment about him not respecting my leg and I thought, now that you do belong to me, we will be fixing that shortwith. Not by "harpooning" (thanks for that phrase, Peter!) with my spur, but by using the correct aid at the correct time with the correct amount of pressure to get the job done. We worked on sidepassing, and had to break it down, first hip, then shoulder then both. Then, worked on bringing the hip over to make a corner . . . We are going to a HAUNTED Trail Challenge tomorrow (money will exchange hands if I stay on, all day, I have no doubt. They think I am pure crazy, back at the ranch) and we practiced a few things to make as good a showing as we possibly can. We got real decent at communicating with one another. Maybe you can imagine my joy as I ask him for a step, one step, not three or half a dozen, and he takes that step and waits for his next instruction. We are not at all what we are going to be but we have made a heck of a fine start. Our relationship will become ever more subtle and refined, and we will venture into many things, Trail Challenges . . . Dressage . . . Competitive Trail Riding, and you know, even though Riata is the Quarter Horse, we will have to introduce Royal to cattle, as well. We will trail ride and camp with our friends and hit the occasional friendly Cap City horse show. There is so much in store for us!
Kara and I had such great days with our sweet young geldings. Her horse is a little younger than mine, but has also had a couple of years off in the middle. We are having a lot of fun, introducing them to things, polishing and working on what they know. I have discovered Royal loves to jump (and not just when he is spooking sideways!). We loped some decent circles or circle-ish patterns around the jump standards, and when we were out of sync about where we were going, it was surely comical, but when we were together . . . completely magickal.
Royal has an issue about being mounted. I have even had people hold his head as I didn't have time to work through the issue before we had to go do our jobs. I never do that, but it's what we had to do. Today, we went to the mounting block. Five minutes later, he is standing quietly, reins down on his neck while I mount. I won't go into the detail of what I did to help him with that, but there are exercises. It didn't take much'a nuthin' because he trusts me and I hold that trust as a very fragile, perishable precious thing.
We blew through a jump, toward the end, and I got down to straighten and set things right. I left Royal's reins looped around the saddle horn and walked away. Indoor arena, where could he go? His neck relaxed and level, he never took those soft eyes off me as I walked around, putting back to rights the different ground poles and whatnot we had messed with during our playtime. Kara even rode away, taking his buddy to the other side of the arena to see if he would move. He looked at them, a little alarmed, but his feet did not stray. My throat got tight, and I got a little misty as I walked back to him, greeting him with soft touches and thanking him for being my willing partner in this deal.
We aren't looking to win anything tomorrow at the Trail Challenge. Going strictly for fun and an opportunity to get my lovely boy out and about. Traveling with Kara and SenSay, a pair I think we are going to have just a ton of fun with in days ahead.
I am on cloud nine tonight. It's been a long road, and there have been lots of not-easy parts, but as a lot of people have said, this horse and I need each other. We have gifts for one another and I am so darned happy we are going to get to make this work out. Things do not always work out, not for horses or people. But, sometimes, they do.
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