Wednesday, August 1, 2012
George the Horse
This horse with no name is a roper's horse, a sweet-tempered show animal used to rodeos and working with calves. He's not built large enough to hold a steer. He crow hops sometimes. He has the roughest, bumpiest trot I've ever encountered, but it quickly slides into the the smoothest lope I've ever felt.
I breathe his warm breath into my lungs, and return it. Circular breathing.
I call him George because Jim does but also because I have a lifelong friend, a parrot named George. And now I have an 80 year old writer friend named George and a literary agent named George, and I am thinking of calling myself George instead of Gerald just to confuse everyone. Just kidding.
It starts raining on our ride in the high timber above Sapello Canyon. George wiggles his muzzle at the drizzle. I watch his unshod hooves clomping in the red earth heading down into the draw where the tall grass grows. George gets a little dancy at the sight of so much lushness and goes into his famous lope, so easy that you could hold a beer glass in hand and not spill a drop.
I could have him for a month's pay at the writer's trade, but back in Florida where we live, George would be out of work, and if there's anything this horse loves it's working.
On the way back to the barn he sees a funny-looking stump, sidesteps, crowhops once, then the easy canter. I understand why my mother was a rider at age five, my wife, too. My brother's all horseman. I ride when I can and dream the ride when I cannot.