Last week I had the pleasure to ride one of my good friend's horses, Cara. She is a mare whom I have long admired, one of those gritty, no-nonsense, matriarch types that doesn't know the word quit and steps surely wherever she goes. She is not the doe-eyed, placid looking kind, oh no! A stranger with a practiced eye would hesitate to walk up and give Cara a casual stroke or familiar rub...her look and poise, though not threatening, commands respect. And if that stranger were to pull her out for a ride, she'd likely set herself in a stoic stance of indifference, of quiet resignation that would let you know that to be used is entirely Cara's choice and entirely your privilege.
I did ride Cara once before, on the day that Barb went out to try her for purchase. It didnt take but few minutes on her back before I met Barb's eye and nodded in silent agreement. Purchasing this mare was never a question even though she wasnt especially trained, bred nor especially fancy in type. I know for a fact that Barb has never once regretted buying Cara or had a moment where she considered selling.
Last week, when I stepped on Cara, the overwhelming feeling I had, pressed against my chest, was that of pride. Why should I feel proud to ride a horse? Perhaps because in Cara there is this energy that made me feel as if I were riding atop one of the big mythical dragons in Avatar. There is an electric surge in her every stride, a siting-on-the-edge-of-a-precipice feeling of riding astride a bundled powder keg of energy and power- a firecracker just waiting to be ignited. All of which could make a rider feel helpless, anxious and in danger. But Cara is broke- she has brakes and steering and a sound mind, she is sensible and light in feel. That combination of unbridled energy and bridled control is intoxicating. It fills you with both adrenaline and confidence, power and humility. As I loped her around I had this distinct sensation that I must suck her energy up into my core and hold it there, balanced, like my foot over the touchy gas pedal of a sports car. I didnt want to get off.
After my ride on Cara I drove directly over and hopped on Jewel. Let me tell you, the short time frame between each horse made the difference in their type and feel all the more pointed. When I pulled Jewel out and lazily stroked her coat I was filled with peace and when her eyes fell half closed and she sighed deeply, I felt my own breath slow to match her steady, even cadence.
Stepping on Jewel and settling into her is to be filled with a sense of quiet, to feel her rock solidly beneath me. And when I pick up the reins, I take into me a sense of power and purpose, knowing that I must pick her up too and send her out with my own energy. That ball in my core is still there but with Jewel I must take it and press it down and into her, like my foot over the rusty clutch of an old Ford.
Jewel brings me her own brand of joy. I love the feel of her when we've finally come together and made something click. And when I stop her, as a reward for having done something right, and she licks and chews and drops her head, I know I have done something right too. She is not electric nor does she inspire my pulse to race and my breath to come short but she fills me with a quiet and blessed contentment.
Two horses- one who creates energy within me and one whom I must create energy within. Both beautifully unique. Both horses. Both an honor to ride.