One of my earliest date experiences with my wife-to-be was horseback riding. Not quite sure why it was so important to put my butt on top of an animal who actually had little interest in doing what I asked it to do (in fact, its primary response was: “huh??” “you mean me?” “what the “f” do you mean faster!”) yet, for the achievement of MY goal (wink, wink), it seemed it was important so off we went.
Through much “encouragement” we finally achieved our goal, riding all the way out to a pasture/wooded area. All was well – Susie was smiling, I was actually having fun, the day was warm and sunny and my trusty steed was calm and reluctantly cooperative.
Until - - -
He made the unfortunate mistake of stepping on a Yellow Jacket nest. Kinda pissed ‘em off. And they shared their thoughts with my mount. He decided he’d had enough trail time for the day and at just under “warp 10” (light really does make that cone shape you see on Star Trek as they go to light speed!!!) we headed back to the barn! Across the pasture! Through the woods! Down the trail! Through the gate! Into the stall! And STOP!!! He looks at me: “you still here?” I gather my dignity, dismount (by sliding off and shaking like a baby) and I wait for Susie to catch up (her warp drive was off-line, so it took a bit). Just as well, I had time to recover my cool and check to see if I needed a change of skivvies.
Susie has always loved horses. The love of her life – Thumper – gets an apple and a kiss every day. Then, I do. A kiss that is, not so much on the apple. She has always included me in this “hobby” but, honestly, her focus was on the horses. But, in the spirit of wedded insanity, I too rode – mostly dressage – with her. I/we learned a lot from a horse named Meloed. An odd mix of Tennessee Walker and Clydesdale – with a gate to remember (imagine riding a camel at canter). Along about this time came Thumper – 32+ years ago and still going strong – and years of lunge-line work, riding, lessons, camps, some competitions, babying, bushels of apples, tons of hay, hours of brushing, scratching, grooming, and loving. Yet, for 40+ years her passion for horses and riding has not diminished – if anything it is much stronger today!
What brought this to mind was talking to her last night on the phone. She is off in Milwaukee at a riding seminar/camp/private lesson. She had the same voice on she did 40+ years ago when she asked me to go riding with her for the first time. “It was great!!!!” “Reese listened to everything!!” “Flying changes!” “Serpentines!” “Passage!” “Leg yields!” “My seat was great!!” (yes, it is!! J ) Honestly, it’s hard not to get excited with/for her on these trips. Her passion has only grown, her love for riding has broadened as she has grown in the craft. It is just fun to watch.
So, she’ll be home tonight about 8PM she says. Her clothes will smell like a barn – a Parisian perfume to the horse lover! I will hear 5 days worth of stories, watch the smiles, see the joy in her eyes, hear the excitement in her voice. Plans will be made for the riding sessions over the next weeks. What can she bring to the horses she is working with and helping to train? What can she do different? I can’t wait until March for the next seminar/camp/clinic/lessons!! “Did I tell you how the weekend went GREAT!?!?!?!?” Yep, sweetie, you did. And, I will see the 15 year old who conned me into my first ride and I will realize for the umpteenth time what I lucky man I am and how much I love this woman.
Women and horses – go figure!