Friday, February 25, 2011

I, Equitator: Day Six – Weird, dumb, dirty, lovable horses

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After an all-too-long week without horse-riding lessons (five weeks, one week off, then another five weeks), I finally had my sixth day at Equi-Sens today. (Which almost didn’t happen, seeing how I had somehow managed to utterly forget about it when I went to bed at three in the bloody morning last night, and had forgotten what my alarm was for and thus ignored it when it woke me. Thank God my mother woke me up, thus placing me in her debt (for once, not financially).) It actually ended up being the best hour I’ve spent there so far, which is rather impressive, given how every lesson is by far the highlight of my week. (Which is either pretty cool or rather depressing, depending on how you look at it.)

As I waited for my woefully short hour to start (my transport arrives a few minutes early), I felt like introducing y’all to some of the gang at Equi-Sens. Here’s Polly, a 16-year-old breed-whose-name-I’ve-forgotten-as-always:

Apparently thinks his butt is his finest feature
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And here’s the doyen of the group, a 27-year-old gentle geezer named Roscoe:

Meanwhile, this nameless doofus behind me was busy munching on some chains. For about half an hour. Just ’cause.

Maybe he/she’s got an undisclosed iron deficiency
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The lesson started as always, by fetching Charlotte from the wintry outdoor pen (where she’s the matriarch of the group) and doing my best to brush her into a semblance of cleanliness indoors, which doesn’t work as well when she had apparently been resting her flank in a puddle of wee. (The dummy.)

Afterwards, we bucked the routine today (I was back with Nathalie, whose foot is all healed up now) and forwent her saddling, instead letting her walk around in a circle on a long leash for a while. (I was told this practice has a specific name, which I naturally cannot retrieve from my ever-failing memory.) The effect was marred somewhat when the great big dummy kept trying to return to us for some petting and cuddles. She truly is an adorably affectionate creature, my Charlotte. Again, I wuv her.

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I then took the leash and started walking her around the perimeter of the hangar/arena/whatever-the-heck-it's-called, but after a while, I decided to really get daring and we began jogging in circles instead. We even went so far as to unleash her, allowing her to roam and explore and gallop around the entire arena to her heart’s content … which was apparently second to staying right there with us, staring us down the length of her big horsie head and rubbing up against us some more. (Lech.)

Not long afterwards, my hour was over. (Boo hiss spit.) We took her back to her box, and I then spoke to Chantal, the administrator of Equi-Sens, about volunteering there once my original 10 lessons were over. We soon worked out a tentative deal: After my current batch of lessons are done with, I’d pay half-price ($250) for another ten lessons, starting the very next week at the same time (ie. Fridays from 11 to noon), but after which I would then stay to 4 PM and help out with whatever tasks need be accomplished, from cleaning windows to waxing harnesses, leading horses and brushing them, and pretty much anything the boss saw fit to make me do.

I couldn’t say ‘yes’ fast enough.