It’s Friday night! I’m on the sofa with the cat and Cowboy has gone out to play poker with the boys. Living the dream.
Earlier this week, I came down with a strange headache thing that meant I missed a day of school. This is very sad to me, because school is much more fun than it used to be when I was eleven.
I finally got our thank you notes for our wedding gifts in to the post and they are on their way to the lovely people who showered us with kindness several weeks ago.
Sir Richard is getting ridiculously big, and now when he sleeps on my chest in the mornings, it’s less adorable and more suffocating. I still can’t help being utterly besotted with him. I am powerless in the presence of his little face.
He continues to tear things up, climb on things he shouldn’t, and shove his paws under the bathroom door and cry every time I go for a wee.
Occasionally he pushes a toy mouse under the door and we play instead. We have that kind of relationship.
Today, Cowboy pestered me into riding Sunshine for the first time in over week. We’ve had a lot on our plate, and I hadn’t felt up to doing much in recent days. Sunshine has been out in the pasture with Beau, getting as much good grass as possible as the winter closes in.
Well, I brushed her off and saddled her today (ok, Cowboy threw the saddle for me… I’m puny…), and we went out to the round pen to see how we would do.
Bill Dorrance writes about feeling for the horse; true horsemanship comes through feel. I’ve been working hard to put aside my frustrations at my lacking horsemanship, and to leave behind my annoyance when I step into the barn. I’ve been focusing on putting out a good feeling whenever I am around Sunshine, and keeping in mind that she is my partner in this work.
We’ve worked on little things on the ground as I’ve brought her in and out from the pasture – she’s stopped being pushy and impatient and has begun to feel for me when I’m leading her. When I’m brushing her down, I try not to be brusque about it, but to feel for her response to the work and to give her the sense that I’m there to help. She has stopped dancing about while I’m grooming now. She watches me with one eye.
Today, the weather was cold and damp, and both of us were feeling a little stiff and sore. I made an effort to tack her up quietly and gently, and to invite her with me to the round pen. We both stretched out a little bit. We both heaved a sigh as if to say “Goodness, I am out of shape for this sort of thing.” That’s entirely true…
We stretched out, we moved, we got as loose as we could, and I thought all the time about how she felt. She felt stiff, tight, unfit, but willing enough. She did everything that I asked without a fight, but she couldn’t offer me the flexible, pretty thing. That was ok. I could feel her trying. I could feel her feeling for me.
“OK,” she said, dropping her head and trying to round, “I hear what you want. I’ll give it a shot. This is all I can manage today. Is that OK?”
It was more than OK. She and I have got ourselves into battles before. Finally we’re learning to talk to each other without yelling. We’re learning to meet in the middle.
It was possibly the best ride we’ve ever had together.
I’m going to go and throw hay at her now.