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The Project:

One Mustang directly off the range, One trainer, No tools, Just body language,

The Goal: To discover how far Equestrian Art can be developed solely using body language.

 

This Baby is a Dancer…

Sunset… Some of our best rides are at sunset. Work for the day is done; the light in the sky is fading fast. Osgar Lopez’s guitar sets the tone from a red, mud-spattered, boom box beside the arena. Myrnah and I travel together, step for step, stride for stride, side by side; and that baby dances right along with us. Myrnah is solid and seemingly unaffected by the fact that her belly jumps and dances to the left and right completely independently of the movements she and I make together. This baby is a dancer and will not be denied.

I don’t remember this kind of movement from any of the other unborn foals I have spent time with, perhaps though, I have never spent so much time with my other mares as I am now with Myrnah: my arm draped across her back, my ribs pressed against hers, our steps and our timing moving as one… and that baby, clearly moving independently from either of us. The movements under Myrnah’s ribs and beside mine don’t feel aggressive or constrained; it just feels like a dance that cannot be contained.

This baby seems to only dance at sunset though. When Myrnah and I ride in the mornings, the baby sleeps quietly though everything. While our morning rides tend to be focused and productive, our evening rides are a wonder as this third character dances amidst our practice.

Myrnah has indeed decided she likes having me ride more than she likes the incessant moving I like to do with her when I am not riding. She likes the peacefulness of putting me up on the mounting block; she likes my still, reverent patience as I let her adjust to and understand carrying weight on her back. She doesn’t seem to mind carrying her dancing baby and me all at the same time- though it is still very new to her, every step a consideration and a thoughtful undertaking.

Myrnah will walk a few steps and then stop to think about it. A careful lean one way and then the other, as though getting the feel for what happens to the weight on her back when she moves, a back up for a step or two, a rest, and then forward again followed by stillness. I am, for the most part, a devoted passenger. I cue gently with my hands and my legs in any direction she chooses, letting her match the feel of my body with the direction of her choice. When Myrnah takes a few steps with more confidence or gives a sigh of relaxation, I jump off and let her contemplate us from a more familiar standpoint.

For most of the week, that was our pattern of practice, our rides lasting for up to five minutes before I would dismount. Today Myrnah felt more confident, allowing me to ask for movement forward, backward, left and right. It is a thrill though me as I ask for a move or a turn with my fingers on her neck and my ankle at her girth… knowing we have practiced this for months from the ground, and yet also knowing I can’t make her do anything she doesn’t choose to do. If I pushed too hard, I think she would escalate her movement until she got me off her back. I am there as a guest; I make no demands, only requests. If I don’t like where she takes me, I am free to get off. Myrnah is not a slave, she is my partner, and this is a discussion between us. Someday, when she trusts me enough, she may allow me to dictate her movement; but for now she reserves the right to ask me to get off, so I had best be polite in my requests for movement.

This baby, however, doesn’t need to be polite at all. He may dance however he chooses, tumbling Myrnah’s belly this way and that while she patiently allows him be the dancer he is. There will be plenty of time to teach him to be polite later on. For now she has her work cut out keeping me in line.

So as the light fades from the sky each night and the silky strains of guitar music fill the air, you can know Myrnah and I will be riding and building our skills together, while this baby does his best to distract us from the seriousness of our endeavors, because this baby is a dancer and will not be denied.

Elsa Sinclair

EquineClarity.com

7 Comments

  1. can’t wait for those pictures >8)

    • Ritambhara Tyson
    • Posted February 24, 2012 at 7:23 am
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    Very sweet pictures, and words. Do you have a guess when this dancer is due?

  2. So cool..so happy foru & Myrna & her baby too!

  3. Can’t wait to see this dancer alive and kicking! Have you also seen its father / the leading stallion of Myrnah’s herd at the mustang gathering?
    Your progress in riding sounds great! I like how you picture yourself as a ‘guest’ on Myrnah’s back, making requests instead of demands. I also love what you said about the baby dancer, distracting you two from the seriousness :).
    Have you already thought about possible changes/adjustments in your interactions with Myrnah, once this ‘dancer’ is out of her belly?

  4. Sorry, ‘paddockparadijs’ was me, Marja 😉

  5. This primal, this is lore-evoking! Will you treat the foal the same as Myrnah? Michael

  6. That should have read.——”This is primal ….” M;)


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