Yesterday at the stables it occurred to me how special the connection between a horse and its human partner is. There truly is a horse for everyone. One of our group was competing in the national horse jumping championships, riding her talented bay pony over jumps up to 1 meter high.
At home, meanwhile, ponies and horses were busy with so many different activities. As I drove up the road I could see two companion horses in the paddock, even though it was a grey day, it was still, and not too cold: and they stood peacefully together, enjoying the fresh air.
Surprisingly, in the outside arena, two kids had dressed in fairy outfits, and were riding bareback, their ponies decorated with some sort of grease paint in Native American war markings. An older girl shrugged and told me they were busy with a photo shoot; the ponies obligingly popping over low jumps and cantering in circles around the photographer.
A young woman had saddled up the horse she exercised each week as a favour for a friend. She asked me if I thought he would be happy in the outside arena, and once we worked out that the fairy girls and ponies were now finishing their photo shoot, we figured he would be fine – and he was.
In the inside arena, a girl was training for a dressage test that would take place the next day. Her mother was giving tips. Their horse is a family pet; ridden by both mother and daughter, and a real all-rounder, as they take her to jump training, cross-country training, and compete in local competitions. She gives herself to each discipline, and the family appreciate her so much.
And my horse then, she greeted me by moving towards me in her box, and then stood relaxed as I groomed her. When the inside arena was free we went in to do some ground work and rope work, then I let her loose to roll and stretch. She’s been our horse for eight years now, and we know each other very well. She competed to a good level of dressage with my daughter, so when I ride, I have a lovely, well trained horse who fits herself to my tempo and requests. She asks for nothing from me but a warm stable and plenty to eat; and rewards me with her presence and grace.
It was a lovely peaceful afternoon yesterday, and each horse, big or small, was uniquely connected to their person. I felt privileged to be aware of the differences as well as the similarities as I gave my horse her carrots and muesli after we finished working.