The sun is setting, its getting dark in an orange-y way with horse tail clouds decorating a fading blue sky. Supposedly the time of night that horses spook the most and also the time that I like to ride the best; its not too hot or too bright, there’s some mosquitoes but no biting flies and its just nicer out. I just came into the house from a great ride to music in our outdoor open air arena, clattering into a dark house exclaiming about how fun the ride was.
I was riding Sham, a grey (white with black skin) Arab who is 19 years old this year and I’ve had him for 15 years. He’s really my first horse. Oh I had a black, naughty pony named King, briefly as a child. He and I never were buds. We never came to any agreements and my parents weren’t very good horse people, although they both had had horses as kids. I got Sham after I purchased a quarter horse for my daughter; you can’t have just one horse. I had always liked Arabs and so that is what I got, despite what people in quarter horse country say about Arabs (airheads, crazy, spooky). He and I learned a lot together. Luckily, even though he was an unhappy horse when I got him, he became a very forgiving and pleased horse in my company. Not to say that I didn’t fall off him a fair number of times, he did spook, sideways, fast and I didn’t have a very good seat (also known as no velcro). My balance developed over time, and he quit spooking as much and certainly not as fast.
We did a lot of different training over the years, tried team penning, search and rescue, western riding, trail class, actual trail riding, dressage, jumping. swimming, and finally clicker training. He’s lounged thousands of circles, had multiple different bits, saddles and other gear. And tonight we did some of the best work he’s ever done, no patterns, just brief requests and praise and treats and contemplating the sky while he chewed.
He’s lost some teeth over the last year, so treats take longer to consume, but are certainly no less enjoyable. There’s something very pleasant about listening to a horse chew while observing a beautiful evening sky. Taking time to savor things.