As I undid the snap keeping my horse tied to the wall, Legs reached to nuzzle me with his usual zest. Too weak for such a gesture I cried out then stumbled backwards as he made contact. Hearing my shriek Legs pulled back immediately lessening the impact of his advance. Then the horse thoughtfully began studying me looking for some reason for my rejection of his overture of affection while keeping his distance.
The horse's expression spoke to his concern. 'Something was wrong with Mom' read clearly on his face. As he processed the scene before him his eye softened and his head dropped and a winsome sigh escaped his lips. He'd always played this little game with me but now he didn't know what to do.
I felt sad for him as the horse withdrew from me. I felt sad for me. He had been so gleeful upon seeing me. Now he was confused and worried, unsure of himself, pretty foreign feelings for such a horse, avery foreign experience for me. There was no playbook or training manual for times like this. We were on our own. Figuring it out for ourselves. Both needing it to turn out all right.
Speaking softly I stroked my horse's neck weakly and asked him to follow me out the door. As we moved I explained I needed him to be kind. I was too weak to play the way I knew he needed. I continued telling him the story of where I'd been as we made our way.
The horse listened intently and I suspected on some level he understood. I was trusting my horse with my life in a way I has never done before. I believed Legs would not let me down.
As we made our way out the door heading towards the house, Legs gauged his speed by my own slow moving shuffle. His head lowered as if he was being led by a small child. My vibrant, energetic Arabian stallion pretty much became my babysitter on that walk.
When I lost my balance falling into him, he propped me up. When I felt too fatigued to carry myself, I leaned on him. The vision of Lindsay and her therapy horse filled my mind's eye as I realized the new role my horse was willingly accepting. I was on my way to my own therapy if I could figure out how to gather the strength to mount.
Dave watched in disbelief as I shuffled my way towards him knowing he dare not interfere. He knew I had been struggling to get to this point for weeks, longing for it for months. He had already tried to dissuade me and experienced a wrath unlike me.
Now he watched for some sign I needed intervention. Knowing full well if he interfered when I was not convinced I was in trouble he would be met with the frustration and rage boiling underneath the surface festering and fueled by months of life's most unkind assaults. The slow healing of my body had been a vicious attack on my spirit. No one got that better than Dave.
The set of my jaw told my husband I wasn't going to give up any time soon. Despite the fact he could tell my legs trembled and my knees threatened to buckle, I would not quit. I was too close now not to get to feel my horse beneath me.
I directed Dave to retrieve my helmet from its place in the horse trailer. I think he was relieved both to have a task to do and to have some kind of sign I was thinking about my safety. Even though I rarely wear my helmet when I ride Legs, I had to admit to my vulnerability now. The helmet was in order.
If I did actuallly manage to get myself up onto the horse, it was entirely possible I could loose my balance and fall off. There was no way to deny that possibility. The surface in the drive is hard so my head would need to be protected. I didn't want to think about what such a fall might do to my body. I was on a mission and bound and determined not to be twarted.
Proceeding towards the picnic table, I lined my horse up parallel to the bench which I normally use as a mounting block. Legs did not resist the positioning even though resisting is part of the normal game he plays. Instead the horse watched me intently making things as easy as possible for me.
Dave returned with my helmet just as I got the horse lined up where I wanted him. The man stood in front of Legs holding a rein while I put my helmet on. When I had it adjusted properly I put the rein I was holding through the ring of the martingale. Then I gathered my reins to get mounted.
Legs affectionately turned and ever so lightly nuzzled me on the arm as I raised my leg to step on to the bench. I smiled as I realized the horse was welcoming me to join him but Dave thought the horse was biting me. The man protectively and immediately smacked the horse on the muzzle not thinking what the horse's response might be. In reaction to this assault Legs instinctively threw his head away from the blow which just happened to be directly into my head.
To be continued........................
A Little Perspective