Annual Flying Lesson

I’ve been riding Skigh more and more, with more and more calm moments than ever.  I’m getting pretty good at riding through her incipient explosions and spooks.flying horse and jockey(artist rendering)

Anyone who knows me or has ridden with me knows that I do my best never to pull on my horse’s face with both hands.  So, I must make this confession:

On Thursday, I was riding Skigh in a big outdoor arena, and one of her pasture mates came by with a rider on board.  They were walking along the lane next to the arena, sedately and slowly.  We trotted past, and suddenly Skigh whirled to look at the other horse.  I was riding on a completely loose rein, and I committed the cardinal sin:  I pulled with both hands.  Skigh’s front end went straight up, I quickly dropped one rein and began bending her, but I was a moment too late . . . and off I went towards the inside of the circle.  No harm, no foul, just a shiner on my right cheek.  (Yes, that one.)

In the three years we’ve been together, I’ve gone off three times.  The first two were full on buck-offs and I never had a chance of riding through them.  So, progress!

My Narrative of my Life with Horses

There is one being who can cut through the fuzz of my mind, and the circumstances of my life.   Only one who has the direct route to my uncensored, unbuffered emotions.

Skigh is my off-the-track racing Thoroughbred mare.  There are three things that she does that bring me to my center:

She is beautiful.  Most people agree that horses are pretty/beautiful/etc.  Skigh is a beauty’s beauty.  Her proportions and her movement are flawless.  Ask anyone.

Skigh’s feelings are right on the surface.  She is expressive with her body, her eyes, her voice, and all of her behavior.  When she is confident, she is light, bright, and responsive.  In nervousness, she becomes jumpy, lightning-fast reactive, and unsafe at any speed.

She is dangerous.  When Skigh came to me, I did some long, hard thinking about whether it made sense for me to take her on.  In the two years we’ve been together, my horsemanship is as good as it’s ever been, and during this time she has bucked me off twice.  Both times I found myself looking up at the sky with no idea how I arrived there!

So, these things about her persona make it very easy for me to stay in the moment when I’m with her.