Category Archives: Virtual Rides

Step up into the stirrup. Sniff the wind. Feel the rhythm. Let the horse carry you. Ride along from the comfort of your computer. No previous horse experience necessary. Just an open heart and an expanding imagination. Enjoy!

Dancing in the Light

This time of year, long evening shadows grace our valley, our woods.

Drawing out the shapes, the colors, the motion of our end-of-day rides.

Long Shadows

Dancing.

Fluttering.

Creating a certain nostalgia.

Projecting glimpses onto ground, grass, bark, leaves . . .

~~~~

Here, a tail wisping — just a glance — against a pinon.

Now, legs lurching — a brief peek — then gone.

Dancing.

Enchanting.

Highlighting our ride. Illuminating the periphery —

Calling my eye, my heart, to ponder.

~~~~

Feelings flood back — barren winter.

Reminding me of how long it’s been since the warm shadows last appeared.

Now, the shape of my horse’s head, ears, mane — glints from another pine tree.

All of it dancing, moving.

Creating the feeling of Spring.

Projecting light-art, the original motion picture — only seen quite like this, when the sun comes round the mountain, this time of year.

Laddie Tree Shadow

~~~~

As we leave the woods, off to the south — a long, golden shaft illuminates greenish-to-rust-toned foliage.

Warm.

Comforting.

As if it will never end.

Like Life. Like our Ride.

As if the green grasses will never wither — never fade.

~~~~

But this — illusory.

Day is done.

Sun setting, westward.

All seasons change.

Like the years. Like the moonlight.

Calling me to take comfort in the Dancing Light of my Ride — today.

~~~~

Aria, Ella and Hokuleia

Aria, Ella and baby, Hokuleia.

Join Dawn for a Soul Horse Ride!  Experience the thrill of becoming one with your horse . . . Join Dawn and her homegrown herd for a  Soul Horse Ride in the Frazier Park Outback!

Call to book your Life-Changing Adventure today:  (661) 703-6283

~~~~

Like what you’ve read here? Visit Dawn’s sister blog: Journal of Dawn

Copyright 2017

2 Comments

May 27, 2017 · 9:33 am

Time Traveler

How many of us have the good fortune, throughout the span of our lives, to re-visit the best of our emotional childhood?

That passionate inner space that stirs your heart to overflowing . . .

Which touchstones open your vault of stored memories?

  • The fluttering silhouette of leaves and light on a curtain?
  • The beach? A hike? Petting a cat, or a dog?
  • The smell and the sounds of the day shifting — from morning . . . to afternoon . . . to evening?

Throughout my life, my access point remains the same: Riding my horse into Nature!

I entered that portal yesterday, and I danced, once again, between worlds.

* * *

Laddie!

All my hopes and dreams for you have come true!

You are my Starboy’s next generation. Starboy, yet bigger, younger. (See My Horse is So Cute! as well as Search: Starboy on this blog for more :))

  • Gliding gaits, smooth. Exuberant.
  • Responsive. Sensible.
  • Every horse-girl’s dream :))

You carried me into dreamland yesterday. And I loved every step . . .

Full. Rich. The emotions stirred deep inside.

Bubbling. Roiling.

Like the ocean waves that serenaded my early childhood years. Growing up on the sand, in Malibu, on then-pristine Trancas beach.

* * *

Maybe it seemed more poignant yesterday because of winter’s intervention.

(This being a snowy, wet and cold one up here in the mountains, I’ve only ridden once since November.)

So absence, indeed, made my heart throb fonder.

As I entered the forest gate, I entered my Time Traveling World.

* * *

All the forest seemed alive, calling back folders of stored emotions. Like a personal file cabinet, from which my entire life opened, and flowed . . .

Lacy shadows cascading across green spring grasses.

I’m riding Rebel, my childhood horse again.

Young. Strong. Filled with hope.

Cool breeze accompanied with warm sunshine, the perfect combination.

Malibu. Elementary School.

Easter time. Wind and warm.

All the world alive, fresh, new.

Yellow blossoms erupting along the Pacific Coast Highway: Clusters of Giant Coreopsis, fields of mustard and Oxalis, bush sunflowers, tidy tips, sticky monkey flowers.

Springtime’s fragrant scent.

Blue sky, fluffy clouds. Hovering, floating.

Teenage again!

Riding Rebel behind Will Rogers State Park in the Pacific Palisades.

Endless sky. Endless opportunities.

My life as endless as the horizon surrounding me . . .

Towering Ponderosa tree, here, just off the trail. Still healthy and full and alive. Handsome Granddaddy of our woods.

Motherhood  now. Two lovely daughters.

My girls would ride into the forest here when they were young, tie up the horses, climb into this tree — sing, and play their flutes.

One day, they reported to me: “Mamma! We watched a calf being born in the woods today. We were up in the tree. The cow was in the bushes, near the wash . . . ”

In my mind, I see that calf being born, each time I ride past. I see it again now, and I see and feel the amazement of new life, once again, in my daughters’ eyes.

Across the way, the spot where my daughter, Anna’s, hair was caught by a snag and pulled from her Shetland pony, Silver.

The pain — how she cried! How hard it was to console her. Pulled from her pony by her hair, by a low-hanging finger of a tree.

Up from the wash, into the meadow now. Yellow carpet of Gold Field flowers, tiny blossoms painting the ground in swirling, creamy hues.

I’m here again, the first time we discovered the meadow in full golden bloom, when Fae was young, green, her maiden voyage that Spring. Anna, teenage now, riding her bareback.

I had my camera that day and I photographed the gangly forms of horse, and rider.

I see it again now: Anna sliding off, picking a tuft of yellow florets, and placing them in both her own hair, and in the forelock and browband of Fae’s bridle. Her long legs hopping, stretching, leaping back on again, in acrobatic precision.

Our cantering spot. Our Toodle Canyon . . .

The pond, dried in the drought of the past several years, now full, heart-shaped, inviting wildlife to sip and horses to spook at their smells.

I’m here again, with my girls — long-since moved away. With my horses — many now, passed to the other side. With my faraway Malibu childhood. Juxtaposed in emotional envelopes, side, by side, by side . . .

Alive again. Decades past.

Time travels. Flashes back.

      Re-living all the feelings. Again.

          Timeless. Alive. All without end . . .

Like an endless loop. Like “The Song That Never Ends”. Playing and re-playing over, and over, again . . .

And all along our ride: The Silent Sentinels (dead trees). Once majestic. Now sliver.  Aged. Wise.

My favorite one, still standing. Broken off at the top. Burned and hollowed below by some long-ago fire. Surrounded by fallen comrades. Twisted, faded.

Enter the longings of Grandmother and Mom, Grandfather and Dad.

Age and wisdom. Hope and loss.

Guideposts of Spirit and values. Philosophy and goodness.

Once here and viable. Now fading. Yet watching, still.

And right along side the bygone, the Old — sprouts the next generation: Fresh. New. Growing.

Encouraging, even in their decay. Our ancestors understand far more than us youngin’s Life’s endless cycles, and wherein we play. In. Out. Endless. Timeless.

All this to the music, the metronome, of my horse’s dancing mane. His flowing neck, swinging. Ticking off each stride.

Each hoofbeat, each memory, each emotion . . . connected through the stride and the dancing mane of my most amazing, time-traveling, doorway to another world: My horse!

* * *

D1000074

* * *

Join Dawn for a Soul Horse Ride!  Experience the thrill of becoming one with your horse . . . Join Dawn and her homegrown herd for a  Soul Horse Ride in the Frazier Park Outback!

Call to book your Life-Changing Adventure today:  (661) 703-6283

* * *

Like what you’ve read here? Visit Dawn’s sister blog: Journal of Dawn

Copyright 2017

15 Comments

May 4, 2017 · 2:32 am

Praising Starboy

Yes, the day is balmy.

Yes, my horse is fresh.

And though we haven’t saddled up since November,

I’m riding Starboy, today, at his best!

* * *

He feels like we’ve never waited

For winter’s snow, mud, ice, to end.

We’ve picked up where we left off,

Starboy, my timeless friend.

* * *

Gliding in perfection,

Flowing with his every silken move —

All, with nuance, dance today

In horse and human groove :))

* * *

How the woodlands beckon,

Starboy’s pace abounds.

Praising precious Starboy,

Hoofbeats, smiles, resound :))

* * *

Awesome, wondrous, synchronized,

How best to describe the day?

Finding bliss on Starboy —

Then feeding his dinner hay :))

* * *

Long Shadow Starboy

Join Dawn for a Soul Horse Ride!  Experience the thrill of becoming one with your horse . . . Join Dawn and her homegrown herd for a  Soul Horse Ride in the Frazier Park Outback!

Call to book your Life-Changing Adventure today:  (661) 703-6283

– – –

Copyright 2017

8 Comments

April 5, 2017 · 9:42 pm

I Ride Into The Painted Desert

Join Starboy and me on a ride from 2009, at the wild rim of Southern California’s Antelope Valley desert — where mountains, trees, and sagebrush encircle the vast desert floor. Breathtaking!

I went to that area today and photographed some of the scenery.

~~~

Desert Vista

I ride into the painted desert, along the rim.

On my Bay steed, my companion.

Willing mount who trods wherever I bid.

A massive gray thundercloud, miles-wide — hear the clap — marches our way across the barren expanse.

Dark wisps of raindrops, like a moustache, drape downward, with a twirl, never reaching the distant desert floor.

Beside the solemn advance looms a white swath of creamy cloudtops punctuating the adjacent darkness.

The depth, the contrast, the subject, reminds me of a painting by one of the masters.

Remington couldn’t have captured it better.

Trees atop the rim

I stop the Bay to breathe in the sight.

Oak trees line the nearest hillside.

Sagebrush paints the meadow pale green.

All draped in the deepening drama of the approaching darkness.

A cool wind whips through the Bay’s tangled mane.

Starboy Mane Silhouette

Up here in the foothills, we create our own artwork.

Little buckwheat flowers paint a burnished backdrop to horse and rider.

I watch his sleek neck move against their endless faces, picking his way across the wash.

Finding the single track trail, we wind up a steep section, turn back on ourselves at the Manzanita bush, and keep climbing.

Here at the ridge, the trail looses clarity. Animal paths are easy to confuse.

Buckwheat on the Rim

We pick what appears to be the best one, and I lose my hat, plucked by scrub and fallen steeply below.

I’m lucky I don’t lose my neck!

The brush is grown over — a deer trail. Not tall enough for horse and rider.

We follow their rut into a scratchy branch that comes to my chin.

The angle of the slope, the agility of my mount are hard to describe.

Almost defying gravity!

At this point, there are few options of retreat. We’re in too deep.

Buckwheat flowers

The Bay waits as I manage to contort and duck beneath.

Picking our way, pushing branches, my arm bleeds in the process.

Ah, reuniting now with the bigger path. Out of the brambles.

The trail drops down the steep grade, but my Bay keeps his steady, light pace.

Loose-reined.

Listening for my coaxing.

Starboy's mane

Climbing toward the next ridgeline, we traverse another falling-out section.

Then onto a jeep trail headed below.

A wizened drop hits my arm.

And another.

As much as the desert, straining upward, wants a drink, this cloud fizzles.

The darkness engulfs us now, sputtering.

Yet the brightness stays along side, illuminating hope.

Silver Lined Oak

I decide to go back and retrieve the hat. My new red one.

We head back up to the ridgeline.

I dismount and lead the Bay down a narrow furrow —  my but he’s agile.

We come out above it, have to drop down.

Bend down.

Arm stretched.

Got it!

Trees and scrub

~~~

I ride into the painted desert, along the rim.

On my Bay steed, my companion.

Who listens and keeps good care of me.

Into vistas of vastness and landscapes of eternity.

It really doesn’t get much better than this!

Desert Vista

~~~

Copyright 2009, 2014

 

8 Comments

June 30, 2014 · 12:44 pm

Riding: The Allure, The Passion, The Obsession…

Horses and riding have always allured me, and the intellectual side of myself has, from time to time, tried to figure out — Why?

What calls my Soul to horses? Why is it that nothing else will quite do?

Join me on my quest to discover what it is, and why, us horse people must ride. 

Ears Listening

~~~

California: Pacific Crest Trail, off Liebre Mountain Springtime, 2002.

Buckeyes are just beginning to pop with small brilliant lime-green ‘palm trees’ bursting out at the end of the branches.

The tree we pass now is overgrown and grabbing for my face; I duck hurriedly and just miss it.

Now we glide past gooseberries with stalks of shiny green leaves and delicate red florets. Now more buckeyes. Now a grove of clustered, densely-packed oaks with textured gray bark and bluish leaves.

This is one of my favorite places, a steep incline at the Northern reaches of the Angeles National forest, above the vast Mojave Desert and the great Tejon Ranch.

Time stands still on this edge of forest rim, except for the constant changing drama of the seasons.

~~~

Now, we approach the ‘digger pine’ forest eerie enough to also be known as ‘ghost pine’ so thickly wooded you’d think someone had planted it.

But nature herself did, decades ago, when the first football-sized, sap-laden cone scattered its seed and took root here.

Usually solitary sentinels on a north-facing ravine, this grove is most unusual.

The lighting changes under the labyrinth of the trees, filtering through millions of dainty six-inch long gray-green needles, and creates an atmosphere unique to digger pines alone.

I glimpse inside a small level opening in the midst of the grove where a picnic table slumps, wooden benches warping. 

And I remember the times we’ve dismounted and eaten a snack here . . . 

We ride our fit horses at endurance pace fast — not because we prod them but because they want to.

We float through the towering overgrowth, as in a tunnel, following the ever-climbing path upwards. Browned needles carpet the undercover and further dampen the light.

The wind is quiet here with the cover of the trees, and we race toward the arch-shaped opening at the end of the wood, bursting out into a long, slightly uphill straight-away.

~~~

We really fly now, dodging stray ceanothus branches and suddenly smelling a strong scent of sagebrush.

Up, up, up we venture, horses sweating and breathing harder as we hit the steeper section of trail.

“Branch!” I manage to shout back, as I push aside and dodge another one. “Thanks!” I barely hear in muffled, groaning reply.

As we approach a six-inch wide rain rut in the climbing narrow trail, I become aware of the precision of Starboy’s hooves:  wide black blurs flying out in front of me.

Mechanically, perfectly, he straddles the rut, deepened from winter’s runoff. His nose inclines toward the earth, nostrils flaring, deftly picking his steps.

I hear Fanta behind me, wheezing, surging in Rick’s hands, pulling at her bit. Wanting to burst past us, to show how much better and faster she could take this stretch . . .

~~~

Finally, we come out to the brief level straight-away at the top of the long climb.

I catch a quick glance of what remains of my favorite old, gutted-out, Valley Oak tree.

The bark is gone, exposing the gnarly and swirled, marble-like underwood. Its great trunk stands, perhaps thirty feet tall, the top long ago severed by snow, or wind, or lightening.

Although we fly past it at a gallop today, I remember the time when I stopped to marvel at it. I took my mental picture that day, and decided it was grand.

I see this picture now, and smile, as we whirl past; a quick mental wink.

~~~

Starboy Mane Flowing

All this makes up a ride. The adrenaline flowing between horse and rider, the beauty of the horses and their movement, the changing textures and beauty of Nature.

And the newness of each ride dwells along side the old. One ride juxtaposes itself upon the next in a matrix of memories, creating a rich history.

Sometimes I find myself re-living a section of trail from a long-ago ride I thought I had forgotten.

Lying in my bed, somewhere between sleep and awake, a vivid tape replays itself and I see the trees again, see the winding contour of the trail, feel again the surge of the horse, and the excitement of the moment.

Starboy on Pinos

~~~

Like Woodside in ’85 riding with my new friend, Terry, and her Morgan mare, Velvet, when I was first introduced to the concept of “endurance riding”.

I had always preferred the freedom of riding trails to the confines of riding circles in an arena, which made me stand out from the other girls at Cory Walkey’s English Riding Academy in the Pacific Palisades.

My cheap western saddle and scrapping roan gelding, aptly named Rebel, separated me from the English jumping clique.

I lived for Rebel throughout my tentative junior high and high school years — long arduous solo rides throughout the Santa Monica Mountains being my special favorite.

I had no definition for what I did until I met Terry. “Endurance riding.” I liked the sound of that.

When I met her, Terry was conditioning for the grueling 100-mile Tevis ride in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. She had selected Velvet from an endless pasture of horses at an aunt’s ranch somewhere, for the virtue of the mare’s large, ground-covering trot.

(My Appaloosa mare, Fanta, whom I had bought several years after Rebel, had to canter to keep up with that trot!)

~~~

So, some years back, I found myself in that state between sleep and consciousness, when the clearest recollection of my first big ride with Terry, out of nowhere, flashed back full-bore.

Like a dream, the ride returned to me.

There I was, riding Fanta, trotting down the east side of the mountain trail from Skyline to the bottom, in Woodside.

Since then I can re-live that same ride at will, as I have, numerous times throughout the years.

First, there was the certain little winding section of trail, and the chatting, and the laughter. The tall redwood trees creating a canopy, with smaller growth by the trails edge.

The bottom section where we let the horses drink, willow trees in the cool rushing creek. I could hear the water, smell the moist soil and rotting leaves.

I saw, also the top section of the trail, when I learned by watching Velvet that a horse can actually hop over a chest-high fallen tree from a standstill, if taught to do so.

A graceful athletic thing to watch; a painful, jarring thing to actually do.

~~~

And then I flashed on the blossoms of a plum tree in springtime, at the edge of a wonderful old ranch there, on the dirt road where we would ride by.

And when the fruit came to ripen in summer, I remembered stopping to feed Fanta plums . . .

I didn’t dismount, but picked them while still in my saddle. Fanta careened her silken neck and reached over to my hand, with anxious lips, as I stuffed her mouth with the delicious morsels.

She slobbered frothy pink plum juice which dribbled onto hands, saddle and pad, as she gorged herself.

I whispered sweet nothings to her and rubbed her mane.

She spit out the pit and bent back her neck for more . . .

~~~

Digging the Ride!

Horses and riding have always allured me, and the intellectual side of myself has, from time to time, tried to figure out, Why.

What calls my soul to horses? Why is it that nothing else will quite do?

Family Shadows

~~~

In fact, as I write this, I realize that the ride with Terry that day was different.

Not only was it my first big ride endurance conditioning, which opened the doors to the possibility of trotting over endless distances.

And not only was it my first time on the redwood trail that was to become my favorite haunt — the big two-plus hour ride I had always dreamed of when I bought Fanta as a yearling, and had to wait for years until she was ready to finally ride, train, and enjoy.

But I can now recall the conversation we had on the winding stretch of trail that has become so memorable — the subject of the laughter.

Lone Jeffry Pine

~~~

We asked ourselves why! Why do we do this? What is it that makes horses and riding so alluring, so all-encompassing to our Souls?

As “horse people” we spend small fortunes keeping our horses. We feed them and nurture them and sacrifice for them.

We become truck drivers and hay haulers and fence builders for them.

We become mothers and medics and slaves to our horses, who munch their hay and carrots and grain contentedly, not seeming to have a clue that we have altered our lives to accommodate them.

Some of us have even lost marriages and friends over them — putting them above all else.

Why? Why? Why?

~~~

On The Trail

Terry and I defined it that day, yet it is a definition ever redefining itself.

* We ride for Freedom. The freedom of youthful abandon, heading out and letting the wind direct our path for the day.

* We ride for Nature. Riding puts us in places outdoors we wouldn’t get to any other way; the trees, the trails, the wonder of being out in the great wild.

* We ride for our Horses. They love the rides even more than we do, picking up their pace and sniffing the wind, legs flying, experiencing their own form of freedom. Willing companions, partners, Soul mates . . .

* We ride for our Souls. Riding feeds us. It puts smiles on our faces and a lift to our gait. It gives us depth of character and heightened experience our Souls crave.

Limber Pine Tree

Riding, the allure. Riding, the passion. Riding, the obsession. The more we ride, the more we have to ride.

“One good ride begets another.”

~~~

Vantage Point

Someday when I’m old, bedridden, feeble-bodied — the rides will be there for me.

Woodside. Malibu. Hawaii. Mt. Pinos. Pacific Crest Trail. Vivid and clear, each bend in the trail. Along with each horse I’ve loved and trained and mothered.

I had a mantra that got me through junior high school . . .

“I’m always riding Rebel.”

Starboy Silhouette

No matter how lonely it got on the upper patio during lunchtime at University High, I would mentally repeat, “I’m always riding Rebel.”

Because the times that mattered most to me were the times I spent with my horse.

Those were the times I used my mental camera.

Those were the times most memorable to me.

I took stock of those times, and they always returned and freed me — and fed my Soul.

~~~

For me, riding is my outlet. It is my Passion. I has become me.

Starboy Silhouette

~~~

Copyright 2002, 2014

 

3 Comments

March 31, 2014 · 11:36 pm

My Horses ~ My Art ~

* Canvass:  The forest

* Paintbrush: My saddle, my bridle Atop four willing hooves

* Medium:  My horse

~~~

Fae Shadow Trail

~~~

My horses ~ My art!  My living, breathing, finely-sculpted, fluid-formed expression  a palpable, pulsing artform on four hooves.

To me they symbolize something even grander and more elegant than the amazing beings that they are.

My horses carry me into their realm. Into Nature and Freedom itself.

Fae Shadow Tree McGill

~~~

Together, we become part of a living painting, with changing light, shadows and shapes, back-dropped by trees and earth and scrub — all kept in constant motion by the ever-beating metronome of hooves and lungs and heart.

Like the famous works of the Masters, my horses free my passions and feed my soul. They take me higher, deeper into a greater world than I would ever reach alone.

Hokuleia in tow

 ~~~

As I watch my horses frolic in their pasture, I delight in how they move and respond one to another. Like a grand living organism, each seems to know his position in the herd and accept, or challenge it.

From my vantagepoint, I observe the antics, the movements, the intentions played out in the acre-sized fenced framework before me.

Hokuleia Tin Shadow

~~~

I interact with the art and the art interacts with me. My presence alone draws the horses to the fenceline, curious, creating both jealous displays of temper, as well as outright outbursts of fun. 

Apples tossed into the boundary cause a scurry of activity, each seeking a tidbit, oftentimes challenging a herdmate with ears pinned and hooves threatening. But soon, outstretched necks and gaping mouths chew contentedly, dropping frothy morsels from sticky-lipped muzzles.

Hokuleia Shadow Horse

~~~

Ropes and halters lead them out of the field. Obsidian eyes, soft necks and tangled manes follow closely. Dusty dappled coats receive brushing, blankets, saddles . . .

My tack, my gear, another aspect. The lines, the shapes — pommels and cantles, stirrups and reins — curved leather cradles of tradition, function and fashion. Colorful conchos. Riveting rosettes. Little details that make up the ambiance of the whole.

Colorful Rosette /Concho

~~~

Once in the saddle, my rides into the wilderness become my paintings. My masterpieces. And I paint them again and again. Each one unique.

A ride never really repeats itself, even though the same horse, same trail. Each adventure offers a fresh approach, a new angle of light or arc of color. The result keeps me riding, ever renewed, in this life-affirming endeavor.

Forest Sunbeam

~~~

I ride astride my horse, her dark mane pumping, flowing, as we float across the vast reaches, ears pricked forward, ready to greet the ever-unfolding scenery. I inhale the wildness of the place, adding to the intoxication, fragrant blossoms, vanilla perfumed pine, the earthy scent of amber leaves.

Others from our herd gallop alongside with flaring nostrils, dancing hoofbeats and outstretched tails, painting a fast-flowing portrait of joyous abandon. Embracing freedom with every stride.

Fae up McGill

~~~

My trails are my canvass. Texture and color, line and space, light and dark punctuate the endlessly pulsing pace.

Like the sagebrush in the valley floor which greet my eye with rumpled heaps of widespread welcome. Once in the forest, gnarled-branched pinon pines become ghostly gatekeepers with brilliant lime-colored lichen “fringes”, their eerie moanings all but audible.

Contained in the images of the forest blurring past are flashes from my childhood the daydreams and horsey yearnings from monotonous schooldays past.  Now, I live those dreams, I breathe them.  I served my time back then so that I can ride my time now, and paint my present, my future, with horses.

Top of the World

~~~

The outer reaches beckon. Up, up we plunge, forward into the landscape, into greater veils of wonder the farther we venture from home.

Here the light shifts, takes on new meaning. Something calls us, drives us on. 

Up in elevation, to thinner air and vistas of grandeur.

Top of the Moon

~~~

Past fatigue, past complaint, into the outer reaches of what we are capable of — for therein lie the prize portraits, the art nouveau, the renaissance of distant reaches afar.

Shadow Horse Full Moon

~~~

Copyright 2014

11 Comments

January 3, 2014 · 11:45 pm

Wonderful, Willing Starboy

From my JournalAugust 14, 2009

Starboy mills ‘round his paddock, head low, rubbing his face to his knee, swishing flies.

All day long he lingers, contentedly, with sister Angel by his side, strolling toward the neighboring paddock, toward the water trough, toward the feeder – awaiting his next flake of hay.

I give him my kisses, and go out of town, on business, leaving him.

While I’m away, I return to his paddock in my mind, at will, and there he is in my mental peek, content again.

And when I return, he whinnies at the sound of my car’s engine, at my whistle, and trots up to greet me – no guilt trip.

~~~

I walk inside the paddock, rubbing faces, removing fly masks, reuniting with the herd.

I halter and lead him out, tying him to my horse trailer.

Brushing off the dust and shedding hair coat – sleeking him out – I plop my blanket, my saddle, onto his back, and slowly cinch up.

I offer him the bit, and he grabs it, like always, from when he was small, when I raised him.

In my younger years, I leapt into the saddle.  Now using a small step-stool, I clamor on.

Starboy braces, politely, for my middle-age weight to descend upon him. I find my off-side stirrup, gather up my reins, and move my body slightly, as signal to walk on.

Out to the road, off the property, he effortlessly, willingly, goes. Wherever I point him, Starboy cooperates – and travels at whatever speed I ask.

What kind of relationship can be compared to this?

He serves, without complaint, at my beck and call. And I serve him, in return, for nineteen years now, like his mother and sire before him, making sure of his pasture and hay.

Few people can boast three generations of home-bred horses, but those who do, understand.

As long as you’re dealing with good genetics, there’s nothing that compares.

~~~

Out on the trail now, Starboy surges forth, my stiff lower back complaining. I rein him in a bit slower.

The trail gains ground into the forest now, into the wonder. Trees tower above us, in the twilight.

The feeling of magic overtakes me, and Starboy trots lightly on.

No coercion, no domination, merely a suggestion that we speed up, or slow down – my body shifting ever-so-slightly in the saddle.

A quiet cluck and inclining forward of my reigns enough to squeak him into a smooth canter . . .

I smell the vanilla of pine bark now, nighttime descending.

And I marvel, again, at Starboy.

And how well he behaves since I’ve been gone.

~~~

Starboy in Sunlight

~~~

November 26, 2013

Here I am, marveling at Starboy, once again. I wrote this sweet little piece four years ago, in 2009. Since then a few things have changed:

Angel is gone now, on the other side of the Rainbow, even though she was Starboy’s junior by a year.

She had Cushing’s syndrome and passed away at nineteen – the very age of Starboy when I wrote this piece.

And Hokuleia was born August, 2012 – our fourth generation! And she has Angel’s energy. And she has Angel’s love.

~~~

And I am changed – I’m very happy to report – for the better.

After a bad injury and much pain (at my doctor’s recommendation), I went gluten-free in December, 2011. Turns out this incident was a major “Blessing-in-Disguise”.

By changing my lifestyle and diet, I lost stubborn pounds of middle-age weight. But that’s not all:  I ALSO LOST MY JOINT PAIN!

In fact, as I read over this piece I feel badly for the “old Dawn” – who was exhausted and who ached – and who weighed down her wonderful horse.

I’m happy to say, “No More!”  : ~ ))

~~~

A spring has returned to my step – I no longer “clamor on”. Now I lift myself up into the stirrup, the saddle, with joy’! Pain-free!!!

My back no longer complains. My knees, my hips, my neck ride along with Starboy like they did in my youth.

So there is hope when it comes to pain, to injury, to age!

Now the healthful micro-nutrients and herbs I take – turmeric, hawthorn berry, ginger, boswellia, cinnamon, fenugreek – can work to rejuvenate my cells without the burden of fighting the inflammation brought on by the gluten (found in wheat and most grains).

Now the vitamins and supplements – B-100, Vitamin Code Multi’s, thyroid, and adrenal support, Perfect Food (green powder) – can work their nutritional wonder.

~~~

Now Starboy, twenty-three years young, carries my lighter profile.

We rode three hours recently, FLYING, like in our days of youth – striding out, floating, galloping – breathing-in the fresh forest air.

Discovering a brand new trail in the process – trotting, twisting, surging, dipping, along the contours of the rapid single-track.

Now Starboy lingers in his paddock with sister, Fae, and filly, Hokuleia. Happy, content. Yet a bit wider at his middle-aged girth than before.

Wonderful, willing Starboy. Ever ready, ever up for the latest adventure.

~~~

I’m fresh back in town now, from a business trip. And finally, we’ll be riding tonight . . .

Soon I’ll smell the vanilla of pine bark, nighttime descending. And I’ll experience his smooth canter – on our latest adventure, into the forest.

And I’ll marvel, again, at Starboy.

And how well he behaves since I’ve been gone.

~~~

Starboy at Sunset

~~~

Oh my – reading this over just now, I have tears! For how long will he be with me?

Wonderful, willing Starboy – I treasure you all the more as you grow old. For our time together here won’t last forever.

But our years have been full. And our love, complete.

And I’m filled to the brim by our love.  : ~ ))

And when the time comes for us to part, when you go over the Rainbow to join the others – I’ll be here waving, loving, cheering you on – tending to the herd, here on this side of the veil.

I’ll take care of Fae, of Aria, Laddie and Hokuleia.

And I’ll cherish my love for you, like the others.

And I’ll wait my turn . . .

Until my time over the Rainbow arrives.

~~~

 Sunset Flame

Copyright 2009, 2013

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November 26, 2013 · 10:36 pm