I walked into the corral and met him for the first time. He was so shiny and almost black. Naked, without any tack or saddle. A glorious and gentle beast – almost took my breath away. A childhood dream, at the pinnacle of coming to fruition. I knew he was the one.

Arabian Gelding Horse | Photon

A little bit unsure of myself, I walked up to him to get a closer look and make sure of a connection. The owner saddled him up and rode, showing off his skills and grace as he did as she verbally commanded, without pause or effort. Yes, indeed, he was the one. And he even had a long mane hanging over his eyes, just the way I’ve always imagined my horse.

He grew up a 4H horse, doing parades, pageant queening, horse riding lessons, riding in the mountains and on trails. He was really broke to ride and really comfortable with people and chaos going on around him. The bonus was his beauty, looking so very much like The Black {Stallion}, an Arabian Gelding. How lucky did I feel in that moment? He was perfect for me, a beginner with only a handful of guided trail rides under her belt.

“What’s his name?” I asked.

“Photon.” She said.

Okay, I thought, everything can’t be perfect. :-)

~ Bringing Photon Home ~

As you can see in the video, he didn’t want to go, despite his beloved owner’s efforts. He loved his home with the Rollings and the other horses where he was boarded. The others nayed and sneered when we took him out to the trailer. They protested in the only way they knew how. Photon received their message and responded in like manner. After 20 minutes, he finally relented, and walked into to trailer to go to his new home unknown.

I released him into his new temporary pasture, until his permanent home is ready. My friend has her horses there, and Photon, with a huge field full of hay before him, ran straight to Sache and Sam, reminding me that horses really are pack animals and need to be around each other.

Horses in the Field

They followed each other around, up and down the barbed wire fence that separated them, getting to know each other and playing. It made my heart glad to know that he had them to make him feel more comfortable during his transition – something I knew that I could not provide.

~ The First Ride ~

My horse friend helped me catch him. He didn’t come when we called him, so we called Sache instead, and sure enough, Photon followed Sache. My friend is genius. He took right to his lead rope and followed us out of the pasture – “Never ride them in their domain.” she warned me.

She got on first, so I could feel more comfortable after seeing her do it. He had no issue with being tacked and saddled up as she taught me how. I watched her giddly as she pranced him around. All I could think was that I couldn’t believe he was really mine. I remembered the wee little girl who dreampt about this day. And here I was at 36 years old. It was happening. Dreams do come true, even if you have to wait awhile.

He was so kind and gentle with me when it was my turn. It’s like he knew that I was knew to this and he was going to help me through it. He was so gentle, in fact, that my friend encouraged me to ride him bare back. The thought had never occured to me. She told me how much more connecting it would be, and how much more I could sense what my horse would do, kind of like the difference between being the driver or a passenger in a car. I had visions of being bucked off without any leverage of the saddle and stirrups. But I reminded myself that he’s never bucked before in all 20 years of his long, well-trained life. So either in my naivety or bravery, I decided to try.

Riding Bareback

With help getting hoisted up (despite my grand visions of grabbing hold of his mane and swinging my body over him!), I just had him stand still for a minute while I took it all in and felt his muscular body below me. I felt his ribby spine and the heat emanating from him. Holding onto the reigns and mane, I told him to walk. And every so carefully, we walked, I, in total exhileration. Was I really a brand new rider on my brand new horse, riding bare back? Yes, I was. And it was perfect and dreamy.

I wanted to sleep in the pasture with him. But he did not share my level of connection. When it was time to, I lead him back to the pasture and let him off the lead rope. Before I had a chance even to take off his harness, he ran away, like the wind chasing fire. The sun was setting. His mane and tail were bouncing up and down, tossled by the breeze he created with his gait. He was gone. He was free. He was in his natural element. And he was beautiful, a graceful and powerful beast.

Arabian Geldingmy friend helping me with the saddle for the first time

Arabian Gelding Horsegetting the hang of it

My heart sank a little. Is it right for a human to tame such an animal? Who are we to command around such a gentle giant? I had this overwhelming understanding that Photon allowed it, but he didn’t love it the way I loved it. He loved being out in that open field, free to run and roam and graze and bond with his horse friends. While I looked forward to being with and riding him, he looked forward to being let go and released.

I have no conclusion. I just know that it is something to be aware of and something to remember and honor and respect in him.

Arabian Horsehorse in the fieldPhoton in the very back of his pasture


Related posts:

Man and Horse | The Dance
The Perfect Day | Painting and Horses
~ My Family ~