Thursday, January 26, 2012

'Tis The Season

Recently, it has been that time of year for cold and damp air, heavy, dull skies, minimal light—a world clad in muddy grays and browns. I am grateful that we don't have endless days of this sort of weather, as it has a way of weighing me down. These are the days that I tend to stay close to the fireplaces and find it is difficult to muster enthusiasm about getting out, or even beginning new projects.  Thankfully, we don't have endless weeks of the drearies.  For example, after a couple days of hiding from the weather, I watched eagerly yesterday morning as the sun came up. And, sure enough, blue sky. A rather pale and watery blue, it's true. Still, blue. And full of promise.

Tuesday, there was a bit of adventure despite the gloomy weather. The gray gelding has been having back trouble. Is stuff like this contagious?! It seems to run in our family. So, off we went to Caliente to see the horse chiropractor—horse trailer loaded with a gray gelding behind. There wasn't enough light for photo opportunities. Besides, there wasn't any time for dawdling and, with the low light, drive-by photography was out of the question. I went to get out of the house and to see the Caliente area, or at least what was visible through the mist.

I ended up enjoying, most of all, watching the chiropractor work with the horse. It was quite an eye-opening demonstration of skill. Years of experience, patience, a gentle hand, and techniques honed over time, topped off with an affection for horses produced an impressive package. He was masterful. At first Night was wary and, of course, you could see where his back was sore by the degree to which he flinched when the poking and prodding of the examination began. Night didn't trust this person he never seen or smelled and was in no mood, after a trailer ride, to succumb to that sort of handling much less any sort of physical manipulation at the hands of a total stranger.

It was fascinating to watch the man use his calm and confident nature along with skilled handling to melt the gelding's defenses. In no time, Night was not only eating from the man's hand (not a real challenge with this boy), he was softening and bending his neck to reach back over his withers to grab the little bits of green grass. At one point, when his new friend excused himself to get a tool for a special task, Night watched him wistully and clearly awaited his return. He had become putty in this trainer/chiropractor's hands.  In less than half an hour, Chip had completely won the horse's trust, and had diagnosed the problem areas. From that point forward all he had to do was ask and Night gave him what he wanted. While Chip pushed, pulled, stretched, and put the gelding into unfamiliar positions often verging on off-balance, the animal never balked, never questioned the man. It was an amazing thing to watch.

Night may or may not be past his bad back and able to do endurance races, but I am grateful for a private demonstration of a master horseman at work. If I were much, much younger and aspired to working with horses professionally, I would pay to apprentice with someone this good.   

Monday, January 23, 2012

What the Heart Can Imagine

(Click on the thumbnail for the bigger, better version)

"In art, the hand can never execute anything higher than the heart can imagine." 
—Ralph Waldo Emerson