Thursday, June 2, 2011

Through the Ears of a Horse

My shoulder still doesn’t work fully and my tailbone hurts like the devil, but it was such a cool and clear evening – another new color from the pallet of diverse weather Mother Nature has been painting these days – that I just had to ride.

I had an excuse, despite the fact that I’m still healing from when Dee body-slammed me to the dirt the other day.  I needed to ride over to our nine-acre hay field to make sure it’s dry enough to mow.   Goodness knows I couldn’t just WALK over and check it out.  Even if I did, my footies don’t sink in the wet places the way a horse’s do, so I wouldn’t be a good judge of wetness UNLESS I was on a horse.  Particularly a horse with big feet, a big fat horse that is growing fatter by the second now that she’s out on pasture and not being ridden. 

Oh, Hudson!
Riding through the hay field

On a new trail we just discovered

Down the pipeline right-of-way toward home.

The home stretch
OK, I admit it.  I once paid an animal communicator to talk to Hudson.   Besides lots of secret things I can’t tell here, Hudson said that one of her main purposes as my horse partner is to be my confidence builder.   And so often when I ride her, I realize that’s true.  She’s always the one I turn to for firsts.   First to move to the new place, first to go exploring with, first to take past the scary cow thugs.  

And, today, the first one I rode after getting dumped (well, I rode Dee after getting dumped, but mainly for the training value, as in, “No, you don’t get to go hang out in the barn with the other horses after you splat me on the ground; you have to be ridden, just like we started out doing.  You wench.”) 

Of course I got on Hudson first.   Hudson is the one I can count on.   Not that she’s a dead-broke packer.  She’s actually still what I would call green in terms of training, and she can be quite naughty.  But her naughtiness appears in mild crow hops and unexpected sprints up hills, and rarely results in any problems for me, at least, not of the type that culminate with my lying on the ground, clutching the reins and being dragged on my stomach.   Oh, well, maybe once in a while.  But of the horses in my pasture, she is the Rock of Gibraltar.

Hudson is a black and white half-draft.  She is registered with the North American Spotted Draft Horse Association because she is that type, but it’s just a piece of paper, you know.  It doesn’t mean she was deliberately bred for a particular purpose.  Except, perhaps, to be my confidence  builder. 

In fact, she was a PMU baby, born at a urine farm in Canada, and the purpose of her being created was so that her mama could stand in a tie stall and pee into a collection container.   And, while some of the now almost-extinct PMU breeders managed to produce some really excellent foals, Hudson turned out to be a little awkward.  But I love her and, to me, she's as beautiful as Zenyatta.

Just 15 hands, she has a huge head, the big, white butt I mention now and again, short legs, a few random black spots and a chest as wide as a refrigerator.   She has a kind eye, and she guards me from the other horses when they start to push and shove too close.  No kidding, she chases them off me and then stands behind me with that big chest  at my back and gives them all the hairy eyeball.  She’s the boss out there, and they stay back when Hudson says so. 

Once, recently, I was trying to carry a bale of hay through the bog, and the horses were swarming around me.  I got my boots mired in the muck and they started closing in on me.  Even a dummy like me knew this was a dangerous situation, being stuck in the mud, clutching a hay bale with five hungry horses jostling to eat some. 

“Hudson!” I yelled. “Get them off of me!”

Hudson charged through the mud and chased the rest of them up the hill, giving me enough space to get my feet free and trudge to a place where I could safely spread the hay.

I kid you not.  That really happened.

Anyway, she’s my go-to girl, my confidence builder, and we had a lovely ride tonight around the property.  I took a few shots of what I saw as we went, and as the saying goes, everything looks better when it’s seen through the ears of a horse.   Especially Hudson’s.

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