The Horsewoman

The Perfect Day | Painting and Horses

Hubby and I recently made our third move in 14-months (ack!), so the last couple of weeks has been all about unpacking and getting settled.  But who am I kidding?  I tend to get to the settled part before all of the unpacking part… so I’m still living with unpacked boxes!  Organization has never been my strong suit (though I’m working on it because I’ve experienced the difference it makes in my productivity).

But by today, I felt like we’ve made a big enough dent that I could take the time to paint after way too long of a break.  First, I made an inspiration board on Pinterest to help piece together my vision.  We moved to a very small town (population 1500) known for it’s massive and beautiful lavender farm, which is what inspired this vision.  Here is a sneak peak of how the painting is going:

lavenderwip e1343885680297 The Perfect Day | Painting and HorsesIt was practically the perfect day, because I also got to do some ground work with my horse and ride him around my neighbor’s arena.

kissesII e1343885947742 The Perfect Day | Painting and Horses

and how cute is this…?

kisses e1343886047692 The Perfect Day | Painting and Horsesmy boy on the right

I’m so in love with my sweet, silly boy.  I feel beyond blessed to have him in my life.

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Man and Horse | The Dance

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.

field e1341761462644 Man and Horse | The Dance

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.

head turn II e1341761760682 Man and Horse | The Dance

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.

wild arabian e1341762190723 Man and Horse | The 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.

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share save 256 24 Man and Horse | The Dance

My Ray of Light

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.

IMG 1038edit e1341437630326 My Ray of Light

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.

IMG 1033edit e1341437979930 My Ray of Light

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.

IMG 1060edit e1341438262575 My Ray of Light

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.

IMG 1045editvintage1 e1341438657111 My Ray of Lightmy friend helping me with the saddle for the first time

IMG 1050editvintage e1341438744507 My Ray of Lightgetting 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.

IMG 1051edit e1341438853894 My Ray of Lightin the field e1341439163237 My Ray of LightPhoton in the very back of his pasture

 

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