Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Commanding Presence…

So, have I mentioned Mr. HH and I bought a horse? Well, we did, and he’s finally on the ranch where we can ride him. I’ve pretty much only ridden one horse my whole life, and I had forgotten about this whole ‘getting to know each other’ stage. It is fun, but also a little tiring sometimes.

But don’t think I’ve forsaken my previous equine partner, oh no. For now, he’s making buddies with Mr. HH while we search for a younger horse that can keep up with Elmer. It’s an odd feeling, watching someone else ride Carmel. He and I were practically two halves of the same brain for most of my teenage years, and my queues to him and his reactions were almost second nature. Dad’s right when he tells me it will just take time and a lot of miles under the saddle to get that kind of relationship again.

But, it makes for some funny anecdotes, as I’m sure Mr. HH will attest. We were moving some cows into the corral the other morning, and I sure was missing Carmel’s responsiveness with the cattle. Elmer is willing enough, but just not quite sure what’s going on. A cow decided to make a break for it back down the fence line, and that is one of those moments Carmel just lived for. I braced myself for the jump, lunged forward, body low, legs tight, reigns up, expecting the familiar feel of the horse streaking forward and to the left to head the cow. And, in addition to NOTHING happening as Elmer stood and watched (interested, I’ll give him that) the cow run by, I heard LAUGHTER from my right, where Mr. HH was watching. To hear him tell it, I just nearly jumped off my own dang horse. (I only lost my balance for a minute!) That’s when I remembered I had to give a few queues to poor Elmer before he would learn what to do.

Then one evening we rode them down to a meadow with a few trees sparsely growing, where I wanted to take Elmer to do some figure eights, circles around the trees, and so on to work on our reigning technique. So Mr. HH was taking Carmel through the motions a few yards away, although heaven knows that horse reigns like a dream. You can tilt your hand to take a look at your watch and be facing the other direction in 2 seconds flat with him.

Anyway, Elmer and I were figuring each other out, and I was trying to give him a good workout – practicing turns, backing up, and of course stops. Coming along in a good trot I used my most commanding voice (don’t laugh, yes I have one), and loudly gave a firm WHOA to Elmer, who stopped on a dime (yay!). And then I heard, “HEY, what was THAT?” Mr. HH was sitting on Carmel, who had frozen out of a full trot and slammed him against the saddle pretty hard, I imagine. “Keep your commands to your OWN horse, thank you!” he said, and I couldn’t help but laugh that time. Old habits die hard, I guess. At least my old pony takes me seriously, even if no one else does.

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