I approached her, she seemed open but unsure. She was moving at the end of her rope, turning, twisting, stepping, then moving over and doing it again from the other side. She tossed her head. I approached her and she sighed and relaxed, but her energy was humming. A totally different energy than what she’s had before. I’ve noticed she seems more energetic, open, curious, and well…. she seems more alive. At this point I have some feeling of guilt,. For you see, she’s been my horse on and off for the past 10 years. Nora has been one of the cornerstone horses in my lesson program. You probably have met her type, she’s the horse I can put anyone on, she’s steady, prefers to stop over going, the one that allows the beginners some leeway, and for that more advanced rider, she cuts them no slack. I’ve seen her reduce students to tears of frustration and lift them up until they have tears of elation. I tried to sell my Nora girl, but it didn’t work out. She made it clear she didn’t want to leave and I thank God that Katie was sensitive enough to realize that and open my eyes to what Nora was feeling.
So now, she’s mine. She’s all mine, no one else’s. I’ve found that I’m selfish where she is concerned. I dream of her, I can close my eyes right here at my desk and feel her soft coat, see her eyes, smell her wonderful horse smell, and feel my love for her open my heart in gratitude for all she’s given me. She’s taught me how to teach, she’s given me Sassy, and she’s given me her bubbles. But today, today she gave me another a gift. The gift of seeing her become something new. She is open to herself, I saw her exploring the sensation of being tied up, the movement back and forth, the testing of the boundries. In the barn she responded to grooming like a colt would. She startled at first, then trusted me enough to settle down, but then pushed on my boundries to see where they were. There was an opening in her I never felt before, it was as though she was enjoying just learning. I know I’m making her seem human, but that’s how it felt. It made me a little giddy, but then as I realized my student wasn’t going to ride and I didn’t have to teach, I found myself feeling a little lost. It’s been so long since its been just me and my horse, I was unsure what to do. I looked at Nora, she looked at me, and I swear a bubble of anxiety came up in both of us. What do we do? How do we be human and horse together without teaching? Then a lightness came in, I felt like that little horse crazy girl again. I untied her and walked into the arena. She literally was dancing besides me! Nora! Dancing, I’ve never felt her light like this before, on her toes with a sparkle in her eye. Where was the calm, quiet, shut down horse I was used to seeing? I turned to Kim and Kristin who were watching me and I said “She’s so open!” We went into the arena together, side by side, her dancing on her toes and me, trying to dance with her. I found myself trotting next to her, weaving between the barrels set up in the arena as laughter bubbled up inside of me. I had to slow down and she continued to dance around me until I caught my breath enough to do it again. We danced together, Nora and I. I had tears of joy on my face and she had joy in her heart. As I turned her out with her herd, she turned to me, dipped her muzzle down to my hand to say goodbye then she danced off to her herd. I can’t wait to see who we both become as we go onto this next journey together.