Saleem, Apocalipse And The Cat

I guess a tiny update is in order.

At long last, I decided against bringing home the little mare I had been offered and declined. I simply dare not introduce a horse to my pasture that has not been vaccinated. Call me crazy.

I will admit, that I did ask myself as well, if I wanted to spent the time, having a sixth horse, and at the moment, the answer was no. I love the five I have, but there are so many other things I would want to do as well, I sometimes recent a little, how much time I spend on them. Not that I would want to cut back on our time together, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes I wish I had more hours in the day, to write, to paint, to play music, to work, helping my boyfriend get his company running, you know, to do none horse related stuff.

All in all, bringing home another horse at the moment, didn’t seem like a good idea. Especially not a young, untouched one. I am genuinely afraid that I will tire of horses at some point, unless I keep it simple.

That said, I have been riding Saleem again lately, we have had a lot of fun exploring the roads around our stable. He has gone from being a careful, shy young man, to a happy and brave explorer and even more so, he even dares to chose the canter when I let him. Back home, he always found canter impossibly hard, so to have him chose to canter down the roadside, is a dream come true for me.

Which brings me to what I truly tire off. Not horses, but the traditional way of training them, having them, everything. I have spent two years with Saleem now, trying to make our dressage work out, desperately wondering why we couldn’t seem to find the rhythm at a canter, why he found it so hard, why his headshaking would flare up in periods, I have been driving myself, and Saleem, insane, trying to fit him into a standard frame of what is expected of a horse and rider.

Truth is, Saleem does not care for dressage. To be perfectly honest, neither do I, never did. It is just that I have been taught since I was a kid, that dressage is important. That is how you break the horse in, how you teach it to be controlled and how you make it bend its neck and look good. Growing up a bit, I was taught that dressage, proper dressage, was important for building the right muscles on your horse, making it strong enough to carry a rider. I hesitantly agree with that, last bit, but then again…

If you have a horse, like mine, who naturally stretches forward and applies his back and all the right muscles when we are on the road, what does dressage matter then? Especially if it is discouraging the horse and the rider? Saleem has been reluctant to be caught when I showed up with the bridle for two years now, and I have been going insane over it, wondering how I could encourage him more, make him want to go riding… And the answer was right in front of me.

Forget everything you ever leaned and ask your horse, what does he want to do? (And of course, remove the noseband, since it is a pointless piece of equipment and even tied loosely it will bother the horse, especially a head shaker.) I have been riding Saleem without  a bridle at home for a while, and while he loved getting rid of the bridle, he still wasn’t too happy. Clearly, what he really wants to do in life, is go out.

These days, when I pick up the bridle, (yes I still wear that on the road, coward as I am, I am terrified that I’ll have him run over by a bus, if I should lose control without it just yet,) he comes walking up to me, looking happy and when I take him through the fence to get his boots on and sometimes even the saddle, if I plan on going for a long ride, he just stays with me, without grazing or walking away. He is so focused, to happy to play with me, I have to kick myself for not going with him before now. This is what Saleem and I will be doing for the rest of our lives. Whatever makes him happy.

I will admit, I considered quite seriously, not riding him anymore at all. I know, he is only seven years old, and a lot of horses run away when you show up with a bridle, no big deal, right? It is. It is a huge deal. It always is. Any horse that doesn’t want to be caught, needs help somehow, since it is screaming at you that something is wrong and it is your job to listen and find out what.

The thing about Saleem is though, that he becomes very withdrawn if I don’t work with him at all. Sad, even. I have compared him to a snail before, not because he is slow, but because it takes a lot of safety and love to make him peek out of his shell, and it is very easy to make him withdraw again. I want this horse to blossom, I want him to keep talking as much as he always did, I want him to be happy to see me and I never want him to feel neither neglected when I don’t ride him, or violated when I do. I won’t lie, it has taken a lot of soul searching on my part, to find an answer for us, but I think we are almost there by now.

I just know, that as long as he is happy, finding a trail in the forest and dodging traffic, then that is what we are going to do. Whatever makes him happy, sure makes me happy too. Nothing can make your heart sing, like a happy Arabian. Anyone who ever owned one, will know how they shine when they are happy.

Lastly, the baby tooth on Apocalipse, the one that wouldn’t come lose, has gone away on its own, after all. I am counting my lucky stars. My vet did call me up and said that she had checked all of her books and I shouldn’t worry just yet, that his baby tooth was stuck, but I am so happy that it came loose on its own, after all.

Aside from the horses, we have a grey cat, who is very sick at the moment, his internal organs quite possibly shutting down. My mom is fighting like crazy right now, to make him survive, as the vet told her to force feed him water for a few days, to try and kick start his body. We have no idea what happened. One day, he just stopped eating and whenever he tried drinking water, he would throw it up again. He is on a lot of medication now, and he is not throwing up anymore, but it is truly hard to say, if we are just prolonging his agony. He is six years old, so he shouldn’t just die like that, which makes one think if someone poisoned him. I know that is a horrible thought, but we have some mean old women in our neighbourhood and he was the kindest, most trusting one of our cats. He is. Not past tense, just yet.

Fingers crossed, it won’t be.

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About Starstone

-Owned by horses. Writer, Photographer, Director, Musician.
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