by Sandi Martinez
I approached quietly – my footsteps light, and careful – I nearly tip-toed toward her. And then I stopped, inches from her. Mind you, I don’t know a thing about horses. But she stood there; alone, shrouded by a mysterious stance, her eyes wide and brown, they took me in as if I was equally mysterious and even remotely interesting.
I don’t know how or why it happened, and there is this insistent logical and organized side of me that wants to know. But she doesn’t seem to care how or why I came upon her, or even why she asked me to stop and say hello; she just cares that I did stop. I soaked her in as if she was a ‘poor’ horse in need. How did I even know, much less think, she was in a state of desperation or pity for that matter? Well… it’s simple; I don’t know a thing about horses.
And because of this, the entire strange invitation from her stunned me, because why me? What could I give her that her owners wouldn’t give her? How would I even know what to do for her? I wondered: Were there books, or resources out there about these kinds of strange connections with horses? Do you have to be a special person – a mirrored specimen of a horse, to attract a horse? Do you have to smell a certain way, or the color of your car needs to stand out somehow? Does your voice have to be soothing, or have a certain way about you, in order to be liked by a horse? Should you have excellent horsemen/women skills to handle a horse at any time? The questions continued.
The only thing I could do is stop and visit and say hello. But saying hello wasn’t enough. I found out by a neighbor whom extended a hand out to me full of apple treats from a bag, (‘you can get them at Wal-Mart’, he said.) and stated casually, that horses really enjoy them. He showed me how to hold out my hand so that the horse wouldn’t bite off my fingers… somehow, I couldn’t imagine her doing that, since she leaned into me, and let me touch her.
I feel a bit off-kilter to say, it was really the other way around. I allowed her to lean into me, and to feel her powerful muscles, supple, and yet firm, to melt into the palm of my hands. I allowed her to brush her muzzle against my face, and even kiss me. I allowed her to stand next to me, and share a small space of everything I don’t share with just anyone, mostly human. Did she know this about me instinctively? Did she feel a calling to break me? Did she know that she would never need to use a whip, or any other commonly used tool, but rather a softness, and kindness that only a horse could pull off?
I’ve tried hard to use words to describe such a sweet and endearing experience, but in the end, I’m hoping some of you can chime in, and help me… RMSAAM wants to hear your first-time experiences when you first fell in love with a horse!