Do you court your horse before riding? Do you wait for your horse’s permission before mounting? I was all set to go for a trail ride early Saturday morning as I bounded out to the barn to get my faithful Paco booted and tacked up to go. I had gathered all the necessary equipment, boots and saddle having them neatly ready to begin the preparation. I retrieved Paco from his paddock, led him to the tie ring and immediately bent down with hoof pick in hand and boot next to his foot. I asked him to pick up his foot in my usual way by gently squeezing his fetlock area, but he wouldn’t budge. While bent over I told him “I’ll brush you after I get your boots on so let me pick up your foot” but he still didn’t budge. I leaned into him as I continued to squeeze his fetlock, even bumped him with my elbow to get his attention, but he was not picking up that foot. I stopped asking as it dawned on me, I hadn’t even taken the time to say hello, I didn’t even acknowledge him and in my haste I was treating him like a piece of exercise equipment that I could turn on and off.
I put my tools down and threw my arms around his neck apologizing for being such a brute. I stroked his neck as I told him how much I loved him and he hugged me back by pressing me deeper into his chest with his chin. He nuzzled me with his lips as I moved around him rubbing and scratching expressing my adoration. Once we had connected in mutual affection I bent down once again to ask for his foot but it was all ready raised in offering to me. Paco rubbed my back with his lips as I cleaned his hooves and donned each boot.
We had a spectacular enchanted ride in the forest as I stretched out my hands to the trees while my dear friend Paco carried me on his back with the reins lying upon his withers. I acknowledge Paco and all horses as sentient beings who thrive when acknowledged, not so different from human beings.
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