I Got a New Friend!

4 05 2012

This is my new friend.

I’m not sure what to call him yet. I was thinking about naming him after one of the horses at the stables, but he doesn’t look enough like any of them. I think I might call him Arthur, in keeping with my preoccupation with re-enacting scenes from John Boorman’s Excalibur. Heh. Anyway, he’s just the right size for snuggling, and I love him lots.

I bought him at a horse show I attended this afternoon at Baji Kouen. This was a bit of a chaotic mess, actually. I give English lessons once a week to a lady who lives in my neighbourhood, and she likes horses too, so she wanted to go with me to the horse show. I knew in advance that my riding club would be going there as a group, so I told her I’d meet her there two hours after the club meeting finished to give me plenty of time to notify her if for any reason I couldn’t make it. Only, it’s Golden Week now in Japan, so today was a national holiday. Riding club finished an hour late, which I didn’t even notice as I was busily sweeping the yard; afterwards, the club took a long route to Baji Kouen, and then made a long stop in Horsy International to enable the first years to buy their own riding gear. I was about to asked to be excused as I already have mine, when one of the boys who started at the same time as me spotted my predicament and did it for me, the sweetheart. I eventually met the poor woman 90 minutes late, by which time we only had that long again left to watch a bit of show jumping (which none of my sempai were competing in). In the pouring rain, I might add. She has the patience of a saint.

Prior to that, though, we’d been blessed with good weather throughout the morning, and I got my first lesson in trotting on a horse independently. This was so much fun! I rode Max today. Of all the horses I’ve rode so far, he is definitely the easiest to ride; he’s a smooth ride, and he is highly responsive to rider commands, to the point that if all else fails he responds to voice commands. However, when I wasn’t actually riding him, he was particularly difficult with me, at least until the sempai who’d been instructing me gave me a sugar cube to give to him after we’d led him back to his stall. The moment he saw it, his eyes lit up and his ears pricked forwards, and he head-butted one of the other first years out of his path to come and claim it from me. He was a perfect sweetheart to me thereafter as myself and the other girl who had been riding him washed and groomed him.

I also got to muck out Lotto’s stall with him still in it; that was interesting! Although he was tethered to the railings at the front of his stall while I did this, he kept attempting to side-step into my space, making it hard for me to swing my fork out of the stall without almost bashing him. He did this in spite of looking obviously worried about what I was doing with the fork. I kept having to stop to push him out of the way, and then to pat and rub him on the neck and reassure him that everything was okay. He must have had this experience hundreds of times as the stalls are mucked out daily, but he looked so confused, even after I took his headcollar off and left him be. Made me wonder how much of what we do with domestic horses remains a mystery to them throughout their lives…

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