Friday, January 16, 2009

Horse Crazy

When I appealed to a Yahoo Group about ideas for activities in Mexico, the man who owns this ranch wrote me back. He says they'll take us on a 2-hour private tour (including riding instruction) in the lands around San Miguel de Allende. The man below is the Mexican wrangler, an expert apparently in both English and Western, especially dressage. He is bilingual, which will be good for my non Spanish speaking Mexican boyfriend.

I don't really know where I got my love for horses, these magnificent, beautiful animals. Maybe it was the ride I took with my mother and stepdad in the mountains in Banff, Canada, when I was 5 years old. I still remember trotting uphill, clinging to the saddle horn. I remember the spectacular views and eating pie on the deck of a mountain-side restaurant. I remember feeling the strength of this beast beneath me, carrying me safely through the trees.

I've ridden every since that fateful day in the mountains. I've ridden English and Western, done jumping and dressaged. I took several years of riding lessons, even winning ribbons in shows. I've fallen off 11 or 12 times, dented my shin, and been bitten and almost kicked, but I can't stay away from them. Sometimes I forget how much I love them until I see a picture, or an opportunity comes my way, like riding in San Miguel de Allende.

Why is it that I feel this connection with horses? Maybe its the way they're connected with me, a subtle pressure of my leg or slight pull on the rein can turn a 2-thousand pound animal 180 degrees. The horse will go over whichever jump I point it toward, trusting me to count the strides, to make sure the animal is balanced from neck to haunch.

I love their undying passion, their loyalty to their "chosen one" even though these stories can break my heart. I saw a video recently of an eventing course, which is an extremely difficult jumping course over outdoor terrain. The horse broke his front leg right below his knee after going over a jump. The rider (from Washington State) didn't know he was lame, and kicked him when he tried to slow down. This gallant horse kept going, moving forward at a canter, even though I'm sure he was in excrutiating pain. He galloped over that last jump, landing on that broken leg, until he crossed that finish line, then suddenly he stopped. His huge head hung beneath his knees, he pointed his leg on the toe like a ballerina. Then he was put down, his rider disqualified. I cried after watching that video. What other animal would do so much for their human, then die because of it?

Yes, its true, I am so in love with horses. The prospect of running with the wind in my hair over Mexican hills is just more than I can handle. I hope this dream comes true.


McJumpguez said...

Two things:
* That is so sad! I wish I hadn't read that story! Haa haa!
* I loved this entry! So beautiful. I can tell how much you love that and how little people know about that side of you. I so hope you get to do this in Mexico. What a great birthday gift!

Paula said...

Nice post. Well, grandma says you have a long line of horse genes on her side of the family, people who truly love horses....from cousin Elden who raises champion quarter horses, to cousin Dolores who is a dressage champion in Oregon, to Aunt Irene who leased horses to ride until she was 80, and no doubt others, too. Who knows where these mysteries of genetics arise...but hey, I hope you have found a good connection to ride in Mexico.