Driving out of town with my after-school job money, I would go to a rent by the hour stable.
This stable existed long before rules of insurance, helmets, waiver contracts, guided rides and walk only stipulations.
Here, I found my solace in a strawberry roan gelding named Jam. He wasn’t the prettiest, nor well conformed, but he was the one I connected to.
He and I would find mazes of trails alone, my hair in the wind and an unforgiving time ticking on the watch. Walking by canals and trotting into a pond and cantering under Spanish moss covered oaks, he was kind, eager, and comfortable.
He would easily move into any transition and come back down with the slightest pressure. He was remarkable to me; at the time, I was ignorant about horses and this was bliss.The only thing that I had was willingness, the hourly rate, and the fever in my heart for horses.
He heard my stories, my dreams and how amazing I thought he was. He accepted the scratches and patting I gave him and seemed to take it all in. I think he knew I wouldn’t work him real hard and figured he could charm me out of the stash of carrots in my pockets. Which he did.
We would hide in the thick brush when we heard other riders coming, running past us, hooping and howling. We had our own thing and the yahoos weren't going to spoil it. I also didn’t like the thought of someone doing that to him on the days I didn’t show up.
The fondness for a strawberry roan is still with me.
Jam was sold and our time together ended. I was glad for him; he was special and needed his own person.
To this day I try to replicate that feeling, that connection. I imagine that is why I am attempting to learn dressage, to attain unity and gain the effortless.
Boy, I’ll let you know when THAT happens, lol!