Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Today was simply blissful. Galahad--or was this the "good twin"?--came right over to me when I went to the fence, and followed me as best he could to the gate. A couple of higher-status horses came along, so Galahad had to hang back a little until I got there to shoo them away.

He was obviously glad to see me, which warmed my heart. I fed him some lunch, ate my own, then put Midnight's English saddle on him. While Galahad's "happy trot" is lovely and smooth, his "not happy" trot will shake your teeth loose. Lately, he's been "not happy" every time I've ridden him in the arena. Posting is much easier!

Today, though, he was good as gold, after a couple of minutes of fussing at the mounting block. After that, he relaxed and trotted willingly around the arena. Posting is a breeze when he's relaxed. It just felt so good, so quiet, so natural and free. I think he actually enjoyed it, too.

After twenty minutes or so of arena work, including lots of reining and leg cue practice, I unsaddled him and brushed him. Just touching that beautiful animal is a blessing. Grooming him while he shifts his weight so I can reach the good spots, or watching him doze while I'm working on his back and shoulders, fills me with a quiet joy.

Because he'd been so good, I led him out to do some grazing. Some training involved there, too, though he doesn't realize it: I make sure I never let him push me out of the way. Horses play that game: they'll graze closer and closer, and finally (usually), their owner will step out of their way. That means the horse wins. Too bad for my boy, because I know that game and don't budge. So he goes the other way. He doesn't take it personally.

Does it sometimes sound like I'm boasting about how much control I have? It sounds that way to me. Like many women, I'm a little bit uncomfortable with asserting my authority. But Galahad and the others have taught me that assertiveness is more about just standing one's ground than about pushing into someone else's space, physical or psychological. It's about setting boundaries and maintaining them, about asking for and expecting one's requests to be honored and respected. Horses are great at teaching life skills.

Galahad, never one to pass up an opportunity for play, investigated the downed honeysuckle branches along the lane. I thought he was going to eat one of them, but instead, he picked it up and shook it all around, over and over, obviously having a great time.

I can't wait for tomorrow, when I can spend more time with him. I am definitely in love.

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