A jolt of excitement, as I walk toward the yard. Sweet, fresh hay reaches my nostrils as the ground crunches under my boots. The fresh smell of laundry lingers on my riding clothes but I know that smell will be gone soon. Replaced by the sweet, warm, horse smell.
The bolt clicks as I slide it open. my equine friend stands tall, munching on his hay. Munch! Munch! Munch! The pull of the hay and the chewing of the horse makes me smile and excited inside for the adventures we will soon have.
Pulling out my body brush, the flat back cool against my palm, the bristles ready to meet the soft flat coat of my equine friend brings me closer to the horse with every stroke. As I meet his soft, shiny fur with each stroke, he turns his head in thanks and we enjoy a warm hug. His heavy head resting on my shoulder, my face buried into his long, soft neck. His velvet nose reassuring me of everything that is wrong in the world. My heart erupts with affection as he lets out a soft sigh, his low nicker all I need to make me smile.
His long silky tail, falling between my fingers as I brush it feels like silk trailing over my hands. He moves a hoof but only to rebalance himself.
The weight of the saddle in my arms, tells me of the responsibility I have once I’m seated in it. I lay my arms, saddle resting on them, across his strong back, slowly moving my arms apart to let the saddle rest where it fits. As I fasten the girth, he turns his head, curious of what we will do today. I walk to his head, bridle in my hands, its leather straps cool and strong, the bit even more so. Touching his face as I hold the bridle in my right hand, against the expanse of his cheeks,pulling the bridle, up over one ear, then the other, the bit sliding into his mouth gently, he knows we’re about to go out. A quick fasten on the buckles, take a hold of his reins beneath his chin and a quick cue from me and we walk in harmony out into the sunshine.
His step, falling in with mine, a true friend walks by your side.
At the mounting block, the swoosh sound of the stirrup leathers being pulled down, the quick command to stand, the excitement in my tummy, ready to take on the adventures he and I will enjoy together and in an instant, I’m in the saddle, his body warm beneath me. My hands gently holding his reins like a child holding its mother’s hand. My legs positioned, either side of his ribcage, my toes pointing toward the sky.
The fidgeting horse is sharply told to “stand”. Be patient, I command as I gently place a hand on his strong neck. He could bolt with me on his back, but he chooses not to. He tosses his head, letting me know, it’s time to go! With a gentle nudge from my heels and my heart, we walk off the yard toward that day’s excitement.
The sun beats down as we walk in harmony, my body absorbing his movements up the farm lane. The trees blow gently in the wind and the sun gleams on my mount’s coat. His ears are forward, his stride steady until I ask with a nudge of my calves to trot.
I rise and fall on his back like the waves rising and falling in the ocean. The tick-tock of the sound of his hooves, reminds me of the precious time we have together. I pull gently on the reins, just closing my fingers to ask to transition down to a walk and we settle back for a slow, rhythmic walk. Each beat echoes around us. He turns his head, sees something he does not like and his ears pin back, his body tenses beneath me. He’s scared! I relax every muscle, ensure my contact is true and allow my voice to calm him. A reassuring hand on his neck, a tickle behind the ear my calm energy transfers to him and slowly the potential buck relaxes from his muscles and we walk on as though nothing has happened.
A wide open field, green and glittering with sunlight, poses lots of fun to be had. I collect him up, feeling his energy build beneath me, his head waiting, expectantly for the command to canter. I hold him there, allowing him to know, it’s coming but not yet. He wants to go! I can feel it through my hands, my legs, my seat! Slowly I release my legs to his sides and off we spring into a rocking movement. My hips roll with his body as we ride the waves of canter but no sea sick feeling can exist while you’re flying on the back of a horse.
I lean forward, crouch over his neck and let him fly into a gallop. The world speeding by with jus he and I in it. The smells, sounds, memories gone, and only this moment matters as we fly along together in pure harmony. He reciprocating my requests and I moving with the command of his body.
The sounds escaping his mouth are pure music to my ears. The quick, snorting breaths of pure enjoyment. The thudding hoof falls giving me butterflies as I know it’s my steed that is creating that musical sound on the ground.
I smile as I lower myself, ask to slow and he obliges.
Walking into the yard, his fur streaked with sweat, my heart racing with pure ecstasy, I lean forward, thank him and relinquish my seat. He steps forward as I run up his stirrups, the leather smell strong in my nose.
I firmly command he stand, wait to be taken and not push as we walk together back to his stable.
Inside, I remove the saddle that held me, take off the bridle that allowed us to work together and yet he still stands, obliging me. He bends his head toward my pocket and nuzzles gently. I pull out a mint and hold it flat on my palm. he tries to grab it, I step backward and he knows to stand where he is. I hold out the mint and his wet mouth takes it softly.
I walk to him, wrapping my arms around his neck, allowing his head to rest on my shoulder and know the smell of my fresh clothes now contains the most beautiful smell of my friend. My heart dances as I kiss his nose and bid him goodbye until next time.
[dedicated to my fabulous horses where I currently ride.]