Sunday, December 21, 2008

On the Wings of a Storm

I paid less than $400 for Aaruba. His breeder wanted quiet Arabians and Pintabians, and Aaruba wasn't. No, Aaruba was the plain gray, high-headed, wide-eyed, last straw that sent his sire to the vet for gelding.

I first saw him on the kind of windy, muddy day that whipped his mind to wildness. Still a leggy four-year-old, he flashed about the makeshift corral as if the storm were inside him, no buck but plenty of air, a whirl flat knees, good hooves, and that indefinable something that trumpets, "I'm the one!"

We made the deal.

Aaruba came home friendly but troubled, ravaged by a sea of emotions, in desperate need of a captain. Together we navigated the straits of training -- he the ship and I the sail -- to open waters and sunny days.

Nearly three years later, I can sometimes offer a bit of the captaincy to him. Yesterday, fresh from two weeks of bad weather and little work, he seemed nevertheless in a mental state to chart our course. And so, I settled into my new Stonewall and handed him the wheel.

He ran.

For most of sixteen miles, he ran, and a winter storm gave chase. A frozen landscape streamed past, pulled tears from my eyes and sweat from his neck. We cantered free as water, free as wind, our bodies long and loose as the reins between us.

I scarcely touched his face or sides but listened instead to his language pure as breathing. Our path looped wide, spun at last on a gust toward home. Winter nipped his flying heels. Naked tree limbs shuddered and the bellies of the clouds grew pregnant with snow.

And I? I clung astride that plain gray, high-headed, wild-eyed, will-o-the-wisp whose size and strength far outstripped my own, a creature more emotion than logic, more motion than matter, more worth than gold, and I was not afraid.


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hilinda said...

I'm glad that you found each other.

And that you can write like this.

Donna said...

I long for rides like the one you described, I am tiring a little of the confines of the arena. Thank you for sharing.

Spartacus Jones said...



One Red Horse said...

Ah, this post perfectly transcribed the wildness, magic, and trust shared between horse and human. Pure pleasure to read. Thank you!

Lori Skoog said...

Another beautiful post! That must have been quite a ride.... Isn't it amazing how you know when something is right?

Funder said...

That's a particularly lovely post. Thanks for sharing your ride with us!

East End Jenn said...

Is it too late to nominate this one for the "Best of the Barb Wire?"

allhorsestuff said...

Oh so fantastic, lovely, handsome and free!
That was fun~You two are a match mad in heaven~

LizGoldsmith, EquineInk said...

He's lucky he found you. What fun the two of you have together. You've inspired me to take my TB out for a gallop in the snow tomorrow!

Merri said...

I have two things to say:

That was beautiful!


Iceballs in horse feet in Idaho : (

Jonna said...

Exceptional writing. What a thrill that ride must have been.

Freezing my fingers off in Montana...

Jenny said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tamara of In the Night Farm said...

Thanks so much, everyone. My Aaruba is a challenge and an inspiration, to be sure.

Rising Rainbow said...

Beautiful post! Sounds like you two were meant for each other.

Jackie said...

This post gets better everytime I read it. Just Beautiful.

Leslie MacDonald said...

I also have a gray arab (well, arab cross), and I have to tell you how much that last paragraph resonates with me. You are just a beautiful writer, I'm so glad I found your blog!