Wednesday, June 1, 2016

A Gift from Orion by Gina McKnight

She didn’t want to just walk in the corral, 
she wanted to run through the clouds, grab a few stars, 
circle the moon, and slide in the sand…”

And then Some:
A Gift from Orion
Archived Freelance
1st Publication Florida Equine Athlete May 2016 
Driving off the main highway, the dusty gravel road was pretty scary. Our 4-wheel drive truck didn’t seem to mind the large potholes that I thought would break an axle. A canopy of oak trees blocked out the midday sun, making the entire event surreal. Dust swirled around the truck so that the horse trailer and the road behind were blocked from view, and the road in front was narrowing to one lane. 
          I had always dreamed of owning an Arabian, the breed that brings to mind palaces, princes, sultry nights and…romance. I suppose not too many people associate horses with romance, but there it is – the familiar aroma, courageous disposition, alluring movement, and sultry face. Arabians symbolize the magic of horses. Their fluidity and grace are unsurpassed in the horse world.
My companion and I were worried that we were on the wrong road. We must have taken a wrong turn somewhere; truly this could not be the road to the National Champion I dreamed of.
          Traveling slowly, over a knoll, down through a deep valley, Orion Arabians sprawled before us. We stopped the truck and took in the breathtaking view. Two large stables stood complacently in the midst of a green meadow surrounded by white fencing. Horses grazed quietly in the vast pasture, as if in a wonderland all of their own. Corrals were situated near the stables where a few riders worked with a beautiful white stallion. This was the place. This was heaven.
          Driving to the stables, the foreman greeted us.
          “Hi! I’ve been expecting you! Park right over there,” smiled the foreman as he pointed to a spot in the driveway. We parked our rig, shook hands with the foreman, and then looked around at all the horses. “We have her ready for you,” he said, knowing that we had only one thing on our mind and that was Fancy, the Arabian mare we had purchased sight unseen through an online breeder's site. With impeccable breeding, Fantastic Ivy’s Fancy would be the gem of our stables. Dapple grey with a prissy gait and confident demeanor, we couldn’t wait to see her. 
          Walking to the stables, we stopped to watch the white stallion in the corral. He was a little green, a newbie in the corral, learning lessons as the trainer spoke softly while making slight hand gestures. A buck and a swing of his head, the stallion was in a playful state and willing to learn, but not ready to submit. A joy to watch, he personified beauty in motion.
          But, Fancy was here somewhere. I couldn’t wait to meet her. Entering the stables, horses peeped their heads in and out of stalls to see who was walking down the center aisle. I stopped and talked to a couple of beautiful horses with flowing bangs covering their jet black eyes. I couldn’t help but think that the Bedouins would have loved this place. Even Solomon, the great King of legend, with his many stalls of Arabians, could be felt among the whinnies and neighs.
          Finally, I see her. She is bright-eyed and waiting. She knows; she knows she is mine. The foreman leads her prancing into the aisle. At six years, she was ready for adventure; ready for life beyond the home she loved, a princess through and through.
          Grabbing my saddle from the truck, I walked to the empty corral. The white stallion was finished with his daily lesson and could be seen romping in the pasture, hazing the other horses. The foreman brought Fancy to the corral. She stood perfectly still as I tacked her for my first ride. 
          A rider most of my life, I won’t deny I was a little nervous. I had never ridden an Arabian and had always heard that riding an Arabian was riding the wind. A boost into the saddle, Fancy felt my anxiety. Why was I anxious? Settle down I told myself.  A few lazy steps around the corral and I could feel her energy and charisma. She didn’t want to just walk in the corral, she wanted to run through the clouds, grab a few stars, circle the moon, and slide in the sand. And she did, except before she did, I landed hard in the corral.
          A rider must always face the fact that spills are a part of riding, I suppose. Laying there, completely invigorated by the fall, I looked up at the sky. As a cloud floated by, Fancy walked over and nuzzled my chin. When our eyes met, she implied, “Get up, girlfriend, we have a lot of adventures ahead!”
          And we did. Fancy has been my go-to horse for many years now. She is my soulmate and more. I can’t imagine life without her. She knows me through and through; and then some.

Gina McKnight is an author, freelance writer, and equestrian from Ohio, USA.


Roland Clarke said...

Great piece. Lovely turn of phrase.

Gina said...

Thanks, Roland! Best wishes...