She was for sale: a black bay Arabian mare and
I was looking for a beginner lesson horse. Tacked
up when I arrived, I led her to the mounting block,
held the reins a bit too tight, poked her with my toe
as I stepped into the stirrup and then dragged my
leg over the cantle, sitting heavy as a test. Would she
tolerate my students? In the chaotic arena, a gelding
with his head tied around, barking dogs chased a
frantic horse on a lunge line. I clucked and clamped
my thighs as if I feared her; the western saddle massive
on her back. She marched on; my spine resisted the
sway of her walk, as my mind resisted her invitation.
Then her flank lifted my calves and she blew out from
deep in her lungs, clearing her windpipe and I did
the same, reflexively taking her cue. I hadn’t fooled
her, she gave her poll small shake and I shrugged. The
mare went on to tell me about her canter, her mouth,
her training. I wondered about some dancing dressage
steps and she followed my lead. Thanking her with
a dismount, I loosened the girth, but the seller was
concerned. “Off so quick,” he said. “Is there a problem
with the mare?” His words sharp in the dusty air, the
mare’s eyes went still. Returning that big exhale to
her, I said, “No, she told me what I need to know.”
for Embrace the Moment, my good mare, Grace.
Anna Blake at Infinity Farm
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