Monthly Archives: April 2006

A Selfish Post

It’s probably one of the rudest things I’ve ever thought, but I’m very glad I wasn’t present when my instructor got thrown from the Irritable Mare.

I came a little early for my lesson (I usually do since I was late once and here in Central Central Ohio, you never know what ugly thing the traffic will do next), so Amanda had me go ahead and get Wilco ready. Since the two tacking bays were occupied, I groomed him in his stall. Amanda, meanwhile, was quite sanguine about the day being her 24th birthday and the possibility of meeting her maker while riding the Irritable Mare. But Amanda knows what she’s doing so it’s OK. I guess. All I know for sure is she sent me off with a job to do.

So I brushed Wilco, a little concerned because we were in the stall together and he is so goll-darned big (I mean if he took a notion to sit on me, that would be that!), not thinking a thing about my teacher but just about my own butt as I brushed and curried and worked to get the little limps of dirt out of Wilco’s coat.

When I finished, I went looking for Amanda since she usually leads him out (this has changed; I now do my own leading of Wilco, thank you very much!) and found her. She seemed to have something on her mind.

“How did the ride go?” I asked.

“Fine,” said Amanda.

“How did the mare do?”

“She threw me.”


“I went over her head, right over the front.”


“Small horses are quick. They can fool you.”

Good night! At least I didn’t have to watch

Today’s picture is a detail from Bernardino della Ciarda Thrown Off His Horse, 1450sTempera on wood,Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence


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Dreaming in Horses

I had the best dream last night! It was simple and plain; just the sort of dream I like the best. I dreamed I was leading a horse. The horse was brown and had some sort of white blaze on its face. There was nothing fancy or identifiable about the animal other than it had a beautiful curved neck, like a noble equestrian statue.

And we weren’t doing anything fancy either; it was just like the end of a regular lesson, the time when I walk the horse back to his stall after grooming him in the cross-ties. And it was so real! The horse was trying to get ahead of me, I was reminding him to stay back, either by making him stay or by putting my elbow in his shoulder. We walked on together, the lesson over the for day. I was perfectly engaged in the moment but I can’t speak for the horse.

It was the kind of work I enjoy — the simple, step-one basics that are about everything even though, on the surface, they have nothing to do with jumping on a horse and cantering into the the sunset. I love the basics. I love learning how to stand, how to hold the rope, how to walk with the horse, how to breathe, how to think.

And I feel victorious when I get up in the morning and realize that my subconscious is truly engaged in these building-block matters.

(Today’s picture, Dreaming Horses, is by Franz Marc)


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