I am still camera-less, so I apologise in advance for the total lack of photos.
Everyone hates Wednesdays. They seem to be second only to Mondays on the Worst Day of the Week list (and I rather like Mondays as well), but in all honesty, I love Wednesdays. Partially because I have managed to shake up my schedule so that I study on Saturdays instead. Basically, my Saturday is right in the middle of my week. That makes my actual Saturday kind of a nightmare, but it’s totally worth it.
The day started off with the usual routine of studying/paperwork in the dark, then feeding and grooming (horses, dogs and self). That out of the way, it was time to ride. And therewith the most exciting news: The Mutterer’s wonderful white gelding is now my mother’s wonderful white gelding.
As usual, it was all God’s plan from the start. I spent two months frustrated with the fact that the gelding wasn’t selling despite the fact that I advertised him everywhere I could think of and there really was nothing wrong with him. I bemoaned this unhappy occurrence, lamenting the fact that my very first client horse would be the one that didn’t want to sell, trying to toil through this trial that the Lord was testing me with. Meanwhile, Mom and the gelding grew ever closer and closer until one day I excitedly announced that a buyer was interested in him (again; I was knee-deep in time wasters) and Mom cried, “Oh no!”
I said, “Well, if you don’t want him to go, then buy him.”
So she did. And now that she has, I can see so clearly the Lord’s Hand in the whole story; how Mom helped the gelding rebuild his love and trust in human beings from the start, how the two of them are soulmates in a way that crosses the divide between species, how perfectly suited their personalities are to one another. It had all been part of the Plan. God is great!
I want you all to meet our newest family member, who no longer has to remain anonymous. Solo (registered as Prontuit Vastrap) is an eleven-year-old pale grey Nooitgedachter gelding standing 14.2hh. Also, he is a generous saint of a horse. (I facepoled off him last weekend, but that was my own fault).
Anyway, after taking him on a hack with Rain and Flare (his carbon opposite) and succeeding in bringing everyone back alive despite the two dragonladies’ shenanigans, I decided that I still had time to take the old charger out for a spin. As usual, I rode her bareback, to serve the dual purpose of taking some weight off her joints and reminding me of how to ride bareback, always a good skill in an emergency. She is the best horse for this job because currently she is rather squishy. Since she’s old and staying squishy on two handfuls of concentrate and low-class grazing, I am in absolutely no position to complain. We took a hack through the Shuddering Woods, jogging home along the hills beside them. As usual, I thought I’d see if Skye felt like a little canter for old time’s sake, and also as usual I was promptly run away with and nearly flew off the back end. For which Skye suffered no punishment; I have a ridiculous blind spot when it comes to cantankerous old chestnut chargers. Something inside her turns me ten years old and reckless again.
I had forgotten to bring her a post-ride treat, a cardinal sin; one does not simply forget to give Warrior Queens their post-ride treats. Instead of braving her wrath, I parked her on the lawn, mounted the five steep steps to the house and sent a minion to get us an apple. It’s not the first time I’d done this, and Skye never tries to go up the steps and probably can’t anyway because she is 26 and has arthritis. She must have heard me thinking this, because the next moment in two big jumps she did go up the steps and stood there on the veranda snorting in triumph. I was equally sure that we’d never get back down again, but she made it somehow and pranced all the way back to her paddock telling the world she was invincible.
Arwie and Magic’s lessons went well. Magic was grumpy because I had ridden St. Solo before him and that made him jealous (“Horses are like girlfriends and kids,” quoth the Mutterer), but still offered some foot perfect simple changes and his best free walk figure-eights yet. Arwen mightily impressed the Mutterer, a noteworthy event, by doing something that actually I was paying no attention to. She was parked on one of our steeply sloping banks, with her front feet on the top and her hind feet about halfway down, while the Mutterer handed me my gloves (which I had forgotten). Gloves on, I picked up the reins and backed her in a dead straight line off the bank. She didn’t even think about it. I didn’t even think about it until the Mutterer reminded me that Arwen has no way of seeing behind her and basically stepped confidently backwards into thin air for me, which is kind of amazing once you think about it.
Our session was long and strenuous and we both nearly died, although I hid it better than she did (I hope). We did a little flatwork, then jumping, then the Mutterer’s favourite exercise of madly galloping the long sides and calmly walking the short sides of the arena (and if you’re not terrified you’re not going fast enough; you get bonus points for crying), then more jumping. We were both cooked, but Arwen remained safe, brave and willing even when she was tired. She’ll have a slightly easier day tomorrow, Friday off and then – terror and excitement! – our first recognised event over the weekend. Lord, not what I will, but what Thou wilt!
To spend the rest of my day in awesomeness, then it was off to the Nooitgedachter stud to ride last year’s National Champion Stallion. We shall call him the Storm Horse, because he is. 15.3hh of glorious, graceful, grey beauty, and him and I have an inexplicable connection born out of unlikely love. The Mutterer actually trained him, but the Storm Horse was about as easy to train as a runaway tornado and the two of them had a lot of arguments. The Storm Horse did not appreciate it when the Mutterer won, and is a suspicious sort of a horse anyway, so now he hates the Mutterer. Then, after all his hard work and blood and sweat, in I waltz, tiny and feminine and oh so unthreatening, and the Storm Horse and I fell in love. Through no skill of my own, I have become the Storm Horse’s favourite person. When the Mutterer catches him, he snorts, strikes and runs away. When he hears my voice, he comes over and elegantly waits for me to pat him. As for me? I’m terrified of all big stallions. I am thrilled beyond all fear to ride the Storm Horse. God only understands why the two of us get along the way we do, but it’s the most incredible feeling. Glory to the King.