magic in the corralPosted: April 15, 2012
I married into horses. My one experience with them before marriage at 28, was a high school foray on some rented horses where I rented two horses for an hour for my girlfriend and I to ride, and I couldn’t get mine to go. So we switched, and I couldn’t get hers to go. We finally got them going, and I couldn’t get mine to stop, and there was that low hanging branch problem….. So it was with trepidation that I arrived at my wife’s family vacation home in the Big Horn mountains of Wyoming for my real introduction to horses. For twenty-five years since we have spent two – four weeks there for vacation and while I will never be a horseman, I learned which end the feed goes in, and which end might kick you!
There is magic in the corral. I have two or three alfalfa treats in my jeans pocket and one in my hand. With my left hand I have the halter and lead rope near my side, out of sight. I open the gate and slip through the crack where forty or so horses lazily enjoy the Wyoming sun. Rosie that sweet tempered brown mare knows I want her. She pretends she doesn’t see me, but she is watching. The others can sense my intent, and they move off. I am talking low and calmly to Rosie, “Hi Rosie, how are ya girl? Would you like a pellet?” The world is empty but for we two. If I move too fast, she will bolt, but she wants that treat. My hand is out, the halter hidden, she has her head down as I slowly ease towards her. She lowers her head and steps toward me, 800 pounds of muscle and gentle heart. I open my hand and offer the pellet and with gentle tickling lips she mouths the pellet and chews contentedly. Now by her side, I tell her what a fine horse she is, and bring the lead rope over her neck, and holding it, I slip the halter on, buckle it up and head back to the gate, swinging the lead rope end to scatter any horses near us.
At dusk when the kids were young, we would go down to the empty corral and sit quietly on the fence. A deer or young buck might saunter in and head for the salt block in the center. Or if we were really quiet, wild turkeys might come and pick for seeds in the horse piles, or a badger might amble in. Usually the kids would squeal or bang their feet and the animals would flee, but that’s OK, there’s always magic in the corral tomorrow.