Horses and Storms Ahead
The weather is a bit tricky, with rain on the way, but I think we'll just have a proper Scottish day of overcast skies and the occasional shower. If the campfire gets canceled then so be it. I think everyone will be happy to touch harness leather and long manes and ask questions and learn about the way to act and be around horses. Some folks just want to be here to learn more of our stories, and some are serious CSA farms wanting real experience with the animals before they decide on a team or a tractor for their own farms. It's going to be such a grand time.
I took Merlin out yesterday for some ground work and a nice ride and while out on the mountain I realized this was the most comfortable I had ever felt on him, or any horse. He wasn't at his best. A little jumpy and nervous from a few days off and construction equipment near the road—but I felt I was at my best. I've learned how to ride, really ride. And when I say that I don't mean I have amazing form or dressage-ring elegance. I mean I know my horse and how to be comfortable with him and together we are travelers without fear. I used to be scared of him, always scared on some level. I'm not scared anymore. Not of him, and not of many things that used to make me shake. But I think it took the forest and the black mane to show me that. And the friends, teachers, and trainers along the way.
That's not to say I don't respect him and the dangers of riding a thousand pound animal in the forest. Of course there are risks and safety precautions. I never leave the farm without his saddlebags containing emergency gear like a halter and lead line, first aid kit, rain coat, hoof pick, and a cell phone in my pocket. But I don't ride expecting there to be a problem. If a problem comes like a spook or a bucking halt I know what he's thinking and how to solve it. These are the kinds of things you learn through miles in a saddle, not through books or lessons. I think for me and horses the recipe just needed enough time to simmer. That, and the right horse. Merlin is nothing short of a gift from the Almighty and I'm thankful for him every single day. I'm going to be riding Fell Ponies the rest of my life, I'm quite certain, and he may be the one reason why.