I whispered to Starlight, "Take care of me tonight."
I was feeling sad and listless, but I knew a ride would help me feel better. I had a rough day and didn't have much energy left for a feisty horse, so I said, "Just take care of me."
Starlight did better than just taking care of me.
When we got to the top of the hill, where the oaks are still down from the tornado, we needed to cross over two good-sized tree trunks. They were about 16 inches high and had enough space in between for her to step through. I know this, because I led her through them a couple weeks ago, no problem.
|The Hoofspring Vault|
So tonight, now on her back, I pointed her at the fallen trees with confidence, fully expecting her to carefully step through them. As we approached, I double checked the proximity of other trees, making sure I had plenty of space after the obstacle. If she decided to do something goofy, I didn't want to lose my leg against a tree. There was lots of room, I decided, as we got close to the fallen trees.
Then things moved so fast that I'm still not really sure what happened. Starlight did not quietly step over and between the trees, that I can tell you. And she did not pop over them, in a jump.
Instead, I do believe she vaulted them. I think she put both her front hooves on the farthest trunk and popped her hind end over them like a gymnast, landing in a handy trot on the other side. Whatever she did, it was smooth and fast and happened in a single, powerful stride. No kidding, I have never been on a horse that did anything like this in my life. I lost a stirrup but otherwise was still fairly respectably seated on her back at the other side of this amazing, gold-medal performance by my athletic little paint horse.
I started laughing and I kept laughing all the way through the 10-acre field, letting Starlight pick the route. It felt so good to laugh.
Starlight just kept heading calmly toward home, not paying any attention to the happy racket I was making, but clearly letting me know, "I got this."