I Am Invincible

February 4, 2011
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Sonny lowers his head to sniff my shirt. I think he’s secretly a dog. He licks my hand. “I have apples for after the lesson,” I tell him. He lifts his head a little, like he is going to answer me. I kiss his nose. He grunts.

I put on his halter and lead him into the big barn. He likes to walk around, so when I tack him up I have to put him on cross ties. I clip him in and go and get his stuff. He looks at me go. I turn around so I am walking backwards. He follows me with his eyes. “I’m coming back, Sonny. Don’t worry.” I say. I quickly grab the brushes, as he continues to stare at me, a vulnerable look in his eyes. Shannon brings in the tack and puts it on the floor.

I begin to groom Sonny. I notice that his winter coat is growing in. I rub my cheek against his soft shoulder. He’s dirty today. I work the dirt and dust out of his fur. I take the hoof pick and bend down, rubbing his leg. He quickly lifts his hoof. When I first started riding him after he was rescued, it could take me ten minutes to pick out his hoofs. I quickly do the rest of them. I finish tacking him up and walk him out into the big ring. Shannon and I fix his girth and the stirrups, and I get on.

I softly sit down on Sonny’s back, instantly relaxing. We walk around the ring a few times to warm up. Tara and Adrianna come into the ring to help Shannon. They have their own horse. Shannon drafts them to be jump crew. I guess Sonny and I were expected to hit most of the jumps. We pick up a trot, still warming up. Soon we start the outside four.

Shannon makes up a pattern of when to trot and when to canter the jumps. After we complete the outside four, she sets up the center jump. Sonny and I gracefully glide over it. We are a team, invincible. Nothing can stop us.

I slow Sonny to a walk and loosen the reins so he can relax. Shannon tells me what we’re going to do next.
I think it’s easier to memorize vocabulary words than a jumping pattern.

She sets up a series of jumps. Sonny and I begin the first one, gracefully moving together. I learn forward over the jump into a half seat, placing my hands on his neck. He arches his back, lifting his legs. He trusts me. I trust him. I make myself weightless as we lift off the ground, and ease myself back onto his back for the landing. I keep my eyes straight ahead, focused on the fence. We turn towards the next jump. It’s in the middle of the ring. I lift him up with my legs, staring straight ahead. Right into my mom’s eyes. “She’s here, watching me,” the thought kept floating through my head.

Sunny and I were soaring. The beautiful air makes me feel free. We fly around the ring like spirits, dancing across the ground. The sun is glittering, illuminating the crystal clear sky. The colorful trees sway back and fourth, singing a gentle song.

Sonny and I finish the pattern and cool down. I walk him around, letting him relax. I smile to myself, feeling very relaxed and content and in the moment. I feel free, like I can do anything if I try. Like I am invincible.

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