The last week has been a dance of push and pull with my horse Photon. One full of grace, and full of awkward toe-stepping, alternating depending on the day, the trail, the road, and whether or not there were other horses around. A dance between man and horse.
We’ve blissed out together and we’ve had it with each other. He has tested my boundaries, respected and distrespected me. I guess I’ve done the same with him.
Tonight I rode him for an hour, by myself for the first time. A real ride, alone. The first half felt victorious, peaceful… like I always imagined what it would feel like riding around the back rodes and trails in a rural community. He obliged my whims while we strolled liesurly by tree farms, sprinklers watering tree farms, barking country dogs, people out working in the fields, and boys sitting in the middle of a dirt road admiring the big red tractor they were all piled on.
And then there was the pasture full of wild horses. Photon stopped, though I hadn’t asked him to. He turned his body to face this pasture, though I hadn’t asked him to. He stayed where he wanted to be, though I was asking him to please continue walking forward. Resentfully, he finally succumbed to the inevitable, though for the last half of the trip after seeing those horses, he would not walk in a straight line. He pitifully and slowly meandered from one side of the road to the other, as if I was too much weight, and he felt old and tired. He cocked his head to one side or the other while I still made him walk forward.
And then there was the second pasture full of horses. This only reinforced his bad behavior. He stopped and he would not go. I have learned from my friend who blogs at Flying Mules to ask nicely once. Tell the second time. And Demand the third. I demanded Photon to walk by kicking my heels hard into his sides – the successful ‘ask’ is only a verbal command. He snorted. He started backing up. He was not going to go. Finally getting him still, I was at a loss for what came after ‘demand’ when the demand didn’t work. So we sat there for awhile, while we both cooled off.
The rest of the way home was a struggle, and I can’t remember the last time I was so scared. He backed up toward oncoming traffic twice. I remembered my friend Bev telling me that when all else failed, start pulling one rein in as tight as I could to make him go in circles – to remind him who is the boss. So I did. And it worked. Around and around we went, sticking out into the 50 mile per hour road, like a girl who didn’t know how to control her horse. Thank the Lord, he dutifully, though slowly and reluctantly walked home.
While I undressed him, he hung his head low. He knew as well as I did that we hit a low in our dance.
So I drove home from his pasture with the windows down and the Frida soundtrack blaring, feeling the need to be unbridled, to feel the passion of the music and get out my angst. I guess similar to what Photon was feeling…
We are not that different, I suppose.