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Tuesday, August 23 2016

Hair once black is now a lovely shade of sophisticated gray. With tiny brown spots. He is the stuff of fantasy and little girl dreams, wild, yet tame, a unicorn moving through the forest.

He is explosive exhuberance and gentle kisses. The unicorn and the clown.

Our love affair began when Montoya was just a baby with a fuzzy butt that barely reached my chest. We spent hours together, grooming and trusting each other. A playful, curious creature, he immediately took to trick training, delighting both me and himself. While his clever mind and quick wit entertains party guests, it also gets him into more than a little trouble.

The red bobber on the bottom of the automatic waterer has been a lifelong source of amusement for him, leading to many flooded pastures. He does not break out of places, he breaks into places. He is Houdini, who can pick any lock, and if he can't pick it, he will club it to death trying, or just climb over it.

Under saddle, he is warm butter beneath you, easily controlled with just a thought. At the same time, he is quicksilver emotion, with dancing, prancing, happy feet, which he must move as excitement bubbles through him like champagne. Some days you want to ride that emotion, to feel free, and see life from the top of a rainbow. Other days you just want to relax and walk and watch the birds.

I don't ride him much anymore. He's so tall, I can barely climb on him without a step up, and many days, I just don't want to deal with all that energy. On the other hand, few horses want to be with you more than this big gray one. Back before I retired, a friend once guilted/browbeat me into riding one morning by saying,

"You NEED to go riding. I'm coming to pick you up. You don't have do anything. Just grab your saddle and a horse and we'll load them in my trailer."

Since I was already physically and emotionally exhausted from the work week, I wasn't in the mood for Montoya's hot energy, thus I selected a calmer horse from our herd that morning. I went out to get the buckskin paint who saw me coming with a halter, shot me the bird, and trotted off. Montoya saw me with the halter and just assumed it was for him. I could not catch the paint because he kept trotting off and Montoya kept getting in the way, insisting that I really should take him. Then and there I made the mental note to sell the damned horse that didn't want my company and to ride the one that wanted to be ridden.

So I took Montoya instead. And we had a lovely day.

I told myself that when I retired I'd have more time to ride him, but I find that I still don't ride much for pleasure, and  when I do ride, Montoya ends up taking a back seat to a young horse that needs to be ridden, or an older horse who is so dependable that he never needs to be ridden. But after this week, that will change.

Montoya is an 1100 pound parrot. And unfortunately it has landed him in a cage.

He is forever sticking his feet into things, either in frustration because he is locked out of some place, or because he feels he has 4wheel drive and he can just motor over things. The result is that his pasterns are crisscrossed with scars.  He has cut his legs so often that we don't even get excited about it anymore.

But this time our soaring eagle has been grounded. The vet was able to stitch it, but he has to wear a cast for a couple of weeks. This horse has never been a good candidate for stall rest. Happy feet. He must move. He wants his windows open and if they swing closed, he sticks his nose out and slams the windows open again. Stall rest in this house is not as bad because we live in the barn, thus the barn is a constant source of activity. This makes his jail cell a bit more bearable and I can just step out the kitchen door to check on him.

Although I hate that he's in pain, it is giving us the chance to be together like we were when he was younger, when time spent was not about riding, but just about enjoying moments together. Slipping back into that bond was like sliding on a favorite jacket when the first cold front of the year blows in. It was warm and familiar. It was right.

He is so happy just to do the Stupid Pet Tricks we played when he was a toddler - bow, hug, give us kiss.

The horse just enjoys spending time with people. I promised him that after his leg healed, we'd start riding again. I have more horses than I can ride, and never seem to reach for him because either a job needs to be done and I don't want to deal with his energy, or a younger horse needs to be ridden, but I'd forgotten how much he really likes it. He believes his saddle is his ticket to adventure. Now that I'm retired, I have the time to punch that ticket, to enjoy life from the top of the rainbow.

Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 05:27 pm   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Yay for spending time with Montoya! My mare also sticks her feet everywhere, it took over a year to heal because she kept tearing it open again and again. She is at the trainer's right now and I'm excited to get her back. I'm hoping now that she's broke we can break the boredom for her by going on daily adventures.
Posted by Lindsay on 08/29/2016 - 12:57 PM

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