What a day yesterday was. For the first time since November of 2008, I spent time with horses. Real, live horses. I was surrounded by horsey love and affection.
From the moment I went to put on my boots, it was a good day. How long had it been since I wore riding boots? It was as good as the day so long ago (much longer than I’ll admit) when at twelve I got my very first pair. No glossy brown paddock boots could have felt finer than the worn, supple boots that fit my feet so well yesterday morning.
I went to visit Sandy Rakowitz and her horses Zoey and Ibis. The day was, for once, sunny and warm. A toasty 62°! Not warm enough to have dried up the mud, but so pleasant. The horses didn’t mind the mud, and they didn’t mind me fawning all over them.
Sandy was kind enough to review with me various T.E.A.M. leading positions and the balletic maneuvers necessary to change among them for people still learning. I needed a review, because this weekend I’m going to help her out at a clinic. It wouldn’t do to have a clueless helper.
Zoey was a tolerant guinea pig. She suffered my ministrations (including many errors) with patience and grace. She taught me many things. I was a rather mirthful student today, drunk on sunshine and horse perfume. Ibis shadowed our every footstep, marching along behind or beside as we worked slowly through the labyrinth or around the barn. Often I had to ask him nicely to move a little, for fear he would stomp my toes. He was very interested in what we were doing. He duplicated Zoey’s movements, supporting me in my efforts.
I am so grateful for Zoey and Ibis and their attentive lessons yesterday. Their willingness to show me where I wasn’t being clear in my cues, or where I was using too much or too little pressure, was a reminder of the good will of horses in general. It’s not that I’d forgotten. It’s just been a long time.
I am indebted to Sandy for allowing me this time with her precious horses and for showing me the finer points of lead handling and wand-switching. Prior to this day, I mostly switched myself in the face on handoffs. I have a little more confidence for Saturday now.
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