Friday, August 30, 2013

dare to dance

I wrote that just about 12 years and one month ago.  I was 40.  I didn't have a horse.  I hadn't had a horse in 20 years.

Before I turned 41 I had a horse.  Duke, my gentle giant Belgian gentleman who taught me so much.  When I was about 43 I got my first training horse, Betty Sue, and didn't exactly do wonders with her and probably learned that I wasn't exactly cut out for the "put 30 days" on this horse sort of thing because when I said to her owner, "Do not try to hook her to that sled by yourself, she'll run off," and he did anyway, I was flabbergasted.  And she did. That was just something that 60 days couldn't fix (at least not with me, at least not at that time) but someone standing at her head could fix it so just have someone stand at her head while you hook her for goodness sakes.

When I was 46 I got my first horse related job since I was 20.  My mother had just died.  It was not a riding job.  I had only sporadically been on a horse for the past 20 years so I just felt lucky to be shoveling.  But I wormed my way in to riding some anyway, and always wanting more.

By the time a decade had passed, exactly a decade from writing that, I had a job that had as much riding as I could handle.  Well, maybe I can handle more.  We'll see.  I am happy with riding, that much is certain.  And I like and am good at the horse care part of it too.

During the time I had been out of horses altogether, "natural horsemanship" had come to the fore.  I basically didn't know anything about it.  I grew up on gaited horses, fell in love with jumping, believed that dressage was the basis of all horsemanship, had had the privilege of sitting on a horse that was turning a cow.  I didn't know who Ray Hunt was.  I had never heard of Buck Brannaman.

But it didn't take me long to find out.  Because it has never been someone's tack or credentials or size of their wallet or condition of their barn that impressed me (although I'm not going to hold any of that stuff against anyone either), but whether or not their horses danced with them.  So when I saw Pat Parelli, I cried, just like I used to cry as I watched Kay Meredith ride musical dressage freestyles and Ron Kohlhoff ride reining patterns.  Is it even possible to see that and not want to do it?  For me the answer is no.

So when I saw Buck The Movie, well, I wanted to see Buck the person in person.  And so, just as it had done for the previous decade, the universe stepped in.  The universe, by the way, is powered by friends.  Buck would have a clinic near a friend of mine and I could stay with her and go audit, and another friend would go with me and drive me there.  When I watched Buck and his students for four days, I couldn't help but desire to ride with him one day.  Never mind that I didn't have a horse, a trailer, a truck, or money.

And then in December Buck's schedule for this year came out.  And my husband, when he heard me say that Buck's schedule was out, asked how one would go about riding with him.  I said, "The first step would be to start calling and trying to get a spot in one of the clinics."

"And what would that entail?" he asked.

"Calling and getting a spot, which there likely aren't any, then probably sending in a non-refundable deposit in a few days."

He asked a few more questions to discern the scope of the thing, but mostly he said, "Call."

"But," I said.  Every possible obstacle.  No horse, no trailer, no truck, no money.

"Call," he said.  "Get a spot.  We'll work it out."  He makes harps.  He said, "I will go down today and pick out the wood and lay out a harp and sell it and it will pay for the clinic.  Everything else we'll work out.  And if we lose the deposit, well, we've blown more money for less important things than this.  You really want to do this.  We'll do it.  We'll figure it out."  It turns out the universe is also powered by husbands.

So I called.  And to my great surprise, I got a spot.  I sent in my deposit.  I started asking for stuff.  "Can I take your horse?"  "Can I borrow your trailer?"  And people mostly said yes, and more volunteered, and more yet cheered me on . . .

And here it is, the month I go ride for Buck.  We're still working some stuff out.

 But I am going to ride for Buck.  And I get to try to dance with horses every day.

Thank you thank you thank you thank you.  Universe and every.single.person who has helped or even thought about helping or even not thought about helping but just not gotten in my way.  I cannot explain this.  It makes no sense.  But it makes my heart sing.  Loudly.