Monday, May 2, 2011



Kitty stood in the middle of the barn alley, cross tied and saddled, when the cowboy came wandering in. I took one look at him, and had to ask the question, "Where are your boots? Aren't you going to ride first?" After all, the white board in the barn that tracked which horses were turned out or ridden on which day, had very clearly lacked an X alongside Kitty for a good, long time. Oh, she'd been turned out, but ridden? Not.

"She'll be okay. You just climb on and ride with one hand. You'll be fine," came the answer from the preoccupied trainer. So I slipped the snaffle into her mouth and ran the reins through the martingale rings, and into the saddle I swung.

Her walk, at first, was fast, as though in a hurry to make the first lap, but then it evened out into a long, smooth stride. Before moving into a trot, I went to two hands, and again she picked up the pace, moving a bit faster than a horse who'd been ridden regularly, but far more relaxed than one who'd only been ridden once in the past six or more months. Her lope was pretty much the same; a bit fast and uneven, but nothing stupid. At one point, when asking her to pick up the lope to the right, she thought she'd kick up her heels a bit, but that was it.

I asked her to walk and she came back down, no fight or fidget like you'd expect from a high power horse after a long break. A twinkling of blue eyes from the Cowboy, and the HydraBull started up. Kitty went straight to work with hard stops and fast turns. I'm pretty sure I had a stupid grin on my face the whole time.

It was a strangely odd experience, to be truthful. On one hand, it felt like stepping onto an old friend. Her size is similar to Sandy, and she rode a bit like him. The buttons were all in the same place, making it easy enough to figure out how to ride her. But her training was more fine tuned...she was much quicker to respond when working the bull.

Over the past few years, I'd walked past Kitty's stall, giving her nose a rub, wishing her owner would let me turn her out to play. But she wouldn't, so Kitty would stay in her stall while I cleaned out the others. I shut down any feelings for the mare that may have sprung forth...you know how that is, don't you? Some little tickle that says you could develop a liking, but you don't allow yourself to go there because in the end, it just causes grief. I turned my attention instead to the horses that belonged to the cowboy, especially the gray mare. I wasn't on Kitty more than fifteen minutes, but in that time, I knew there had been a reason for those early tinglings. This was a definite fit.

I rode Kitty again the following day. She nickered this time when she saw me. The following day, I brought Darling down and let her ride and get a feel for the little red mare. Darling wore the same stupid grin I had the first time.

6 comments:

Breathe said...

Omg, I'm in love with this story! Horses are such specialists, aren't they? I hope Kitty is all yours already, not sure I can bear it otherwise...

Cheyenne said...

This sounds like a good fit for you and the horse! Go get `em!

Shirley said...

I got that stupid grin on my face the first time I rode a sliding stop on Beamer.... I know just what you mean!
I'm so happy for Kitty that she will now get to live up to her potential. And that little kick of the heels- I bet that was pure joy.

Crystal said...

OOOh exciting!!! Cutting is soooo much fun, glad you got an awesome horse like Kitty!

Keechy said...

Goodness me, that's a classy type of mare!

CTG Ponies said...

Sounds like a fantastic ride on a great horse.