Monday, December 3, 2012

The quiet moments

By Terri Rocovich

A few of my friends and I went to go see a "equestrian" type show called Cavalia. It is a combination of human acrobats and incredible horses that melds gymnastics, vaulting, dressage and trick riding. All of the horses are healthy and impeccably groomed and seem happy to be doing their job pleasing the audience. The show is quiet and almost poetic in parts paying tribute to the amazing creature that is the horse. In other parts the show is action packed with, among other things, vaulters on top of teams of 4 and 6 horses and even jumping obstacles.

When the show was over, the conversation as expected went to questions of how much we liked the show and what was our favorite part. For me, the best part was the quiet moments when horses were free (they call it "at liberty") with the trainer/rider interacting as if there wasn't an audience and we were spying on a private moment.  One such moment was with a young man and a paint horse. The horse had nothing on, no saddle - no bridle, and the trainer and the horse moved together in choreographed unison at times and at play in others. The horse laid down at the trainer's gentlest of touches and was completely relaxed and happy for the affection the trainer gave him. Then the horse got up and the trainer jumped on his back and they galloped around as if they were as free as any wind that ever blew.

I would have been happy if the entire show had simply been various trainers and their horses, free of any aids other than their hands or voice, demonstrating how well horse and human can communicate when time is given. Although entertaining, I have seen plenty of trick riders over the years hanging off of saddles and God knows I see enough Dressage.

Even at home, what I cherish the most are the quiet, private moments that I share with my animals. The other day I went down to my pasture' where my older thoroughbred Pete and his pony Tahoe were grazing, to bring them in for the night. Neither had a halter on, there was no need for one. I lead Tahoe by his fly mask and Pete followed because Tahoe is never allowed out of Pete's sight. As we paused while I opened the gate, Pete nuzzled my hand and rubbed his head on my back as if to say "Love you Mom." I am a sucker for that and for me that is worth more that all the riches and ribbons any girl could have.  My weeks are filled with many of these little moments and for this I know I am extremely blessed.

Some of my favorite pictures of Uiver and I are not of him doing one movement or the other. They are the ones of me telling him he is good and just enjoying what we are doing.

One of the many things I love about going to shows with the crowd from Arroyo, specifically David Blake's clan, is that we all just hang out at the end of the day, enjoy a drink and just sit and hang out with our horses. Nobody is ever in a hurry to leave to go to the hotel or home if it is a local show. We usually have a table & chairs and a pop-up by the horse's stalls and we sit and laugh and just enjoy time with each other. Those moments are golden.

This is David and is Grand Prix Horse Ikaros giving Rebecca a pony ride.

Ikaros aka Pooh getting love from David

Rebecca Rigdon, her horse Solei meeting a
little fan after winning the I2 class at Del Mar

One of my students Lexie getting her Birthday wish -
a ride on Uiver.

What about you? What are some of your favorite one on one moments with your horse.


Gayle Carline said...

My mare and I love our little private moments of just hanging out together. One of my favorite memories with her is when she was pregnant and I had put her in the turnout to stretch her legs. After rolling, she walked over to me, gently took the sleeve of my sweatshirt in her mouth, and stood there. It was just a moment of "aaahhh."

My moments with her very mouthy son do not include him touching me with his teeth at all, but are usually about me watching him do something goofy. He makes me laugh.

Promise said...

One of my favorite memories of my mare, Promise, is a behavior that only showed up when I was a little down or my mind was elsewhere.

She would stand on the cross ties and shake her head back and forth with her lips loose so they made this awful (but absolutely hysterical) smacking noise against one another. (Think of a dog with it's head hanging out the car window type thing.) It ALWAYS made me laugh and forget about whatever it was that was distracting me.

And, while she was generally very affectionate and sweet with me, she was never what I would call cuddly -- for example, I could hold her face in my arms for a few seconds, or wrap my arms around her neck, but very quickly she'd say enough was enough and back away. The only times she tolerated a long hug from me (and even hugged me back), was after I lost my rottie in 2008, when I lost my grandmother last December, and two days before I had her euthanized in July. Seems all the other times, she just thought I was being silly :)

lmel said...

One of my favorite moments was sitting in the pasture, eating a picnic lunch, and having Harley and the girls come over to investigate and munch on grass next to us. In reality, any time I spend with the horses is special.

jenj said...

I'd have to say my favorite moments are in the barn at night check, when Cash comes up for his bedtime treat. He's always the last one in the barn, hanging out at the gate. And after his treat, if he's feeling social, he and I will have a good scratching session, where I scratch and he wriggles around or "points" (with his nose) to itchy spots. When he's done, he leaves, usually without so much as a thank-you, lol!

Alison said...

A quiet moment for me is salivating over your gorgeous horse photos!

Laura Crum said...

Terri--I had not read your post when I wrote my post, and yet I think we both wrote about the same thing, from different angles, maybe. It is definitely the quiet moments that mean the most to me. In fact, I've structured my horse life such that it is composed of many quiet moments. I can't say which are my favorites, really. Cruising along the trail or beach in real harmony with my horse, those moments when a horse offers a "kiss" (blowing into your face), or just watching them graze or listening to them munch hay in the evening....all good.

I, too saw Cavalia, and though it was spectacular, I wasn't as impressed by the horsmanship as I had hoped to be. A young trainer friend of mine had warned me, "If you know a bit about horses, it kind of ruins this show."

I think your Uiver is an absolutely gorgeous horse and the photos of him are all stunning. You two look so happy together!

TBDancer said...

All of these moments are special, each in its own way. I enjoy spending time doing horse chores almost as much as I enjoy time with my horse. If I'm mucking the stall or washing out the buckets, I know I have an audience from the turnout because once those chores are finished, there will be food involved--in big green buckets and for HIM.

I agree with Laura's comment, that Uiver is gorgeous and you two look great together. You are making many happy memories, and you're lucky to be part of such a happy barn. The "hanging out" pictures are great, too.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

More often I spent those quite moments with my horse to the place where only her voice I can hear. These are the moments that I can relax and enjoy the beauty of nature. And I enjoy it so much. It give's me a lot of good memories.