Andie spoils me and helps me balance all the projects I have perched on the limbs of my tree. Without her help I could only accomplish a fraction of what I am able to do, and I appreciate her so much. Andie’s sweet dog has just given birth to five new puppies, which makes Andie a grandma, and a tired one at that so she’s going to stay home today and help settle in her new family, which I support wholeheartedly. Even so, I was going to practice riding Gwinny so I got the support of my family gathered up for me so I could do an early morning ride as the sun filled the sky and return home when Kira rubbed the sleep out of her eyes.
I pulled into the stables and the only sounds were the birds, some whinny’s in the distance of horses who respond to the sound of an arriving vehicle, and the swish of tails swatting flies. Some of the horses were still reclining on the floor of their stalls. The sight of a horse flat out sleeping is intimate and private and I felt privileged to be in that moment. They lift their heads to see if I’m the one with the food, and as they realize I am not they, lay it back down again, and close their eyes.
Gwinny was up and cheerful to greet me. She must have just risen from her sleep because the bedding was all over her and it reminded me of one of my boys coming down stairs with a sleepy face, morning breath and hair poking in all directions. The boys usually scratch themselves in the morning, so I gave her a good morning scratch on the forehead. She pushed into the rub, asking me not to stop.
I lead her out to the crossties and groomed her. The quiet of the morning with no one around, the smell of the barn mingling with sounds of nature was therapeutically relaxing for both of us. It occurred to me though that I shouldn’t ride if no one is around, that’s not a safe practice, and it’s disrespectful to my instructors. I am a novice and I rely on their reminders and feedback, and in no way do I think I have any of this horse business figured out. I need to have an eye on me when I’m on a horse.
So while I waited for someone to arrive, I gave Gwinny a full body massage. I felt a little guilty because it’s been a while since I did that for Craig or any of the boys, and I know when they read this I’ll hear about the unfairness of life. I’ll owe some massages around the house so they don’t get jealous. Gwinny slipped into a standing nap and still no one arrived. As I rubbed around her ears her neck drooped down so her head was at my knees, and she licked and chewed, all signs of pleasure and relaxation. She was happy. There isn’t anywhere on her body that she won’t let me touch her and this is good progress from the first day I met her as she gave me a little kick when I picked up her hind leg, leaving me with an ugly bruise.
I heaved a big disappointed sigh. There’s always been someone around at eight in the morning at the barn, so it was an off day for someone. As much as I wanted to practice riding, get my workout, and be with Gwinny, I packed up my tack and returned her to her stall. She got out of her work and perhaps learned that just because I show up and groom her doesn’t mean she has to be ridden and I know that will improve our relationship.
Safety first. I know it and I believe it, but practicing it can be a difficult choice. I am so thankful that my husband has supported this activity which he feels is far more dangerous than he would like me to do. I can’t give it up but I promised to be safe and make wise choices. So I went home without my ride. I respect Craig. I respect the possible dangers in riding. And I don’t want to take unnecessary risks. There’s always tomorrow. Sigh.