cowboy, dressage, equestrian, pasture

Back in the Saddle

You know you’ve been missing your horse when you’re mountain biking to the tune of “I Should’ve Been a Cowboy.” There’s something very weird about that.

Much as I love mountain biking, there’s nothing like being on a horse.

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Yesterday’s return to the barn with a little country western playing on the radio felt oh, so right. I even enjoyed the long, long walk to the far reaches of the pasture — where the grass is so much better than right next to the gate.

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Micah has shown little enthusiasm for my plan to teach him to come running at the sight of me and my carrots. I slog across the pasture, watching swallows sail through the grass, a few geese honking overhead, perhaps a hawk. The walk takes so long, dandelions pop up, mature, and go to seed before I reach Micah, in the far corner. He’s so far away, I can’t see any detail — I just aim for the biggest horse out there.

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Sometimes Charlie, the youngster of the group, gets the herd riled up and cantering to the gate. I appreciate when he gets Micah to the gate for me, but no such luck today.

Micah grazes as long as he can, knowing I’m not going to leave without him. I trudge up, give him his carrot, and halter him. I breathe in the scent of horse and take a moment to scratch his neck. I’m home.

The walk back to the gate is quicker. Micah knows there’s a bag of carrots by the gate and marches right along. He deviates at the last minute, to take in a drink of water before we go to work. After a few long, cool pulls, he splashes about just for the fun of it. We’re in no hurry today and he knows it.

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Tacking up and catching up with my friends in the barn, I’m really looking forward to today’s ride. I’m letting go of Sunday’s full day of cars and airplanes, settling back into a beautiful day in Central Oregon. Have I told you I love it here?

I’ve decided to ease up on my obsession with my stupid legs. I need to be more forgiving with myself. Changing habits takes time. I would never be so ruthless with my horse.

Micah senses that I’m here to enjoy myself and approves. It’s more fun for him when I’m not on a mission.

Our ride is a mix of work and play. I’m so fortunate to get to ride such a giving horse. I forget myself and shout ‘Good!’ when he lets me control his shoulder. I am so caught up in the moment, I forget I’m not alone in the arena. I laugh at myself and pat my horse.

It’s good to laugh and even better to be back in the saddle. No need to worry about perfection today, or tomorrow either. I should’ve been a cowboy.