Friday, January 1, 2010

Ringing in the New Year

Sitting on my horse when he's lying down

Michael and I celebrated New Year's with a small group of friends last night, but truthfully that wasn't the highlight of my night. The best part was a moment that Panama and I shared when I went out to blanket him around 7:30.

Imagine this: When I get there, the full moon is high in the eastern sky, bathing everything in a surprisingly bright glow. The one thing I don't see, though, is Panama.

I park at the west end of the corral and peek around the corner of the east-facing shed, and there he is, lying down, facing the moonlit corral. He doesn't get up while I slip through the fence, so I go and sit down on his back.

He is obviously very relaxed and has probably been napping, as his head is drooping and I can feel his breathing coming long and slow. It makes me want to relax with him, so I scoot back and lay forward, looking at the view from between his ears, and then burying my face in his mane.

That still doesn't feel relaxed enough for me, so I decide "What the hell," and sit in the dirt and manure between his front and back legs. I lean against his shoulder and run my hands all over him — up his neck, between his ears, over his nose and face, across his belly, and down his legs. With sleepy eyes, he permits it all, and even turns occasionally to put his nose in my lap. It's cold (25 degrees), but snuggled up with my horse, parts of me are warm enough that the rest of me can tolerate the chill.

After probably twenty minutes, he starts to lean back, like he wants to lay flat, and then seems to realize he can't without kicking me in the process. He moves his front foot out, which makes me think he might want to get up, so I stand. He doesn't get up, just puts his nose out and sniffs my crotch like a dog and then tucks his foot back under. I sit back down with him. We repeat this routine a couple of times before he finally gets up. I go to get his halter from the tack room and he peeks around the corner of the shed, like, "Where are you going?"

When I come back, he is waiting for me at the gate. I call out to him, and he whinnies back to me. He is an angel while I blanket him, and when I return him to his corral, he watches me while I leave.

***

When I got home I changed out of my jeans (with the manure-soaked back pockets — nice) and we went over to a friend's house. But even though we were with our friends at midnight, to my mind I'd said goodbye to 2009 several hours earlier, in a moonlit corral with my horse against my back.

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4 Comments:

At January 1, 2010 at 4:52 PM, Blogger Kate said...

Pretty cool - nice that he would let you do that!

 
At January 1, 2010 at 6:15 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

Thanks, Kate! Panama has always trusted me when he is laying down. I can walk around him, sit on him, whatever -- he isn't nervous about it at all. It makes me feel very special, that he trusts me so completely!

 
At January 1, 2010 at 9:12 PM, Blogger Nuzzling Muzzles said...

I have dreams like that. It only happened once in reality when Gabbrielle was younger and laid down a lot. What a great way to end the year.

 
At January 1, 2010 at 11:55 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

NM, I've come upon Panama laying down twice this month, but that's more than usual. He just doesn't bother getting up when I approach!

I wonder why Gabbrielle lies down less as a grown horse? Interesting.

Panama used to be very particular about where he lay down, and I think he still avoids lying down where it's wet and cold. For a while I had him boarded in a place where the stalls weren't cleaned frequently, so I'd clean his myself every morning, and I kept clean shavings in it as well. He would wait until I came and cleaned his stall, and then he would lie down to sleep, after I left! He was almost never dirty in the morning, no matter how mucky his stall got, but the other boarders would see him lying down after I left!

Oh, for the days when he was never dirty... *sigh*

 

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