“Break out Moment,” a prompt used in our writer’s group – Women Writers at The Well. The prompt came as an entrance into exactly what I want to share in the moment.
The last time I got on a horse I literally crawled and was pushed, gently and tactfully, but pushed nonetheless, on board. I had no strength in my arms, no support in my legs. I knew I would never ride again.
I mourned the loss of that life, a passionate life-time horsewoman, but in time became reconciled to the loss. I sold my truck and horse trailer and rehomed the younger of my two horses. I cried in deep grief listening to Dave Stamey sing “Come Ride With Me.”
Two complete shoulder replacements and a hip replacement later the thought of riding tickled at my heart. My horse is almost twenty-six years old. Would she be okay with it? I’m in my seventy-second year and haven’t been astride in two years. Was I kidding myself?
I contacted my adopted granddaughter, Kaylee, and we agreed on a time. She would be there for moral, emotional and physical support.
Sparkle Plenty stood to be saddled as though no time had passed. She swished her tail as she always has, flicked her ear and stood. Two tries accomplished getting the saddle in place. A little ground warm-up helped to loosen the old mares joints. I led her to the mounting block, positioning her so that the stirrup was in easy reach. With hesitancy and held breath I put my left foot in the stirrup, took hold of her mane and the off side of the saddle and lifted myself, my right leg not quite getting high enough to clear the cantle and her rump. Kaylee helped my leg find its way and my right foot found the stirrup. I started to breathe.
I’m not going to say that first ride was perfection, but it was. My right leg was stiff, heel not wanting to reach down. My hips were tight, looking for the flexing comfort and flow that was their experience. Scar tissue in my back from a ten year old surgery restricted the fluidity of rhythm. Sparkle and I were together in the new dynamic. Her hoof steps slow and careful, my body seeking the remembered harmony of joined movement. It was perfect.
The following day I was able to lift my leg over, not with the smooth grace of yesteryear, but accomplishing the goal just the same. My leg lengthened, hips softened, back loosened. And as we (Sparkle and I) were returning from a short walk around the pasture Sparkle’s shoulders and hips also loosened and she reached into her “happy” walk, sending a thrill of joy through my entire being. We are not done. We are beginning – again.
I originally started this blog to share my point of view of the horse/human/spirit relationship. My plan was and is to write a book. I was hoping for more discussion regarding other people’s point of view and experience in relationship to the topics I brought to the blog. Obviously I was not clear in this intention. It is now time for me to turn my attention to the book. I very much hope to hear what readers have to say regarding the horse/human relationship in all its forms. Thank you for sharing in my journey.
My horse is the concrete connection
To the abstract of my soul.
Like Pegasus flying Icarus to the sun
She carries me to the outreaches of my world
Dropping piles of care and concern along the way.
She is Sparkle Plenty, namesake to the beautiful
Bad girl in the Dick Tracey comic strip.
Even as a newborn foal life pored from her like sunrays.
The genetics of grey and age bring the glitter
Of diamond dust to her shiny coat.
Her ears stand sentinel straight when she hears my call
And she answers with a whooping welcome whinny.
Like me she has some arthritis, some wisdom and some silliness.