Getting on a horse these days totally messes with your mind due to this commercial:
As for me, I haven’t been on a horse since I was 6- or 7-years-old, and even then I was relegated to the dreaded bareback-behind-the-saddle position. So, you would think that nearly-49-year-old me would have some trepidation when presented with the option of hopping up on a horse-like being–what with me no longer being a kid nor having any body wash on-hand. Such was not the case at all today when I went all New Mexican and plopped into the saddle.
I have to say that it couldn’t have been under a better circumstance. Tess[[starto]] (DLT#2) invited me out to the stables to see Kenai, her PMU rescue horse. Kenai was gotten as a foal, but is now a still-growing 3-year-old colt. I’ve known Kenai since he first arrived. Over the years I’ve helped groom him and exercise him, so we’re old friends at this point. So, when Tess asked if I’d be willing to hop up on the “Big Guy”, I agreed without any question in my mind.
After some exercise, we brought Kenai into the empty arena. Tess rode him first to burn off any excess energy the horse might have. Then it was my turn. (Sorry…didn’t think to have Tess take pictures. Silly me.) Tess was thoughtful enough to let me step up on a block to mount Kenai, owing to my less-than-stable knees. So, foot in stirrup, free leg heaved over rump, and I was on a horse. Simple as that. Tess gave me some very detailed and exacting instructions: lean back and pull for “whoa”; tug on reins to steer.
And we were off. It was a lot like beta testing. While Kenai was very patient with what were likely mixed commands at times, he (mostly) took them without too much stubbornness. It was more up to me to figure
out what was the correct combination of heel, lean, and rein. He does have an odd quirk. He thinks he’s a jumper, so he always gravitates to the fences in the arena. Always has. Plus, me being a new rider, he was surely testing me a bit. I know this about him and would have none of it.
For an extra added bonus, another rider entered the arena. According to Tess, Kenai has never been ridden in the arena with another horse to distract him. I got to deal with this. Oh goody. Understand, I was with Kenai in the arena a couple of years ago when there were a trio of other horses there. It was not a pleasant situation. So, I was very aware that controlling Kenai might be an interesting experience. Fortunately, for the most part he handled it well. I made sure that neither one of us got put in a stressful circumstance.
After many laps around, it was time for me to (reluctantly) dismount. What can I say? My never-in-a-saddle rump was starting to bring itself to my attention. So I dismounted and we proceeded to continue with other activities with the “Big Guy”.
As first experiences go, it was probably one of the most comfortable ones I can remember having. I trusted Kenai and he trusted me. I didn’t feel high off the ground, which you’d think given that this youngster is 15-to-16 hands high and still growing, but I was focused. Even though I was figuring out the controls, I was in the moment–that same sort of place that you get when playing sports and you’re “in the zone”, though not as deep into that special mindset as when you actually know what you’re doing.
I dare say, this was a very good day on many levels. Being on the horse was just a nifty treat. It will be nice to do it again.