I ponied my 5 year old horse-in-training, Pampero, a black Lucitano stallion, up the mountain behind my reliable 7 year old steed Bandolero, a liver colored quarter horse.
Pampero’s delight, and his sense of wonder, caught my imagination. I was opening the world to him.
Pampero’s world has been limited. A year ago he broke the coffin bone in his right front hoof. His questionable recuperation (only half of horses so afflicted recover), required a year of relative quiet. This was a task, given his youthful exuberance and the fact that he had two working testicles.
His life was confined to a stall for the first month. In that time he learned the power of his weight and first broke the restraining chain and then learned he could leap the newly installed three foot stall door.
I then had to corral him in the pasture. He would whinny and pace along the barb wire fence as I rode Bandolero up and away or drove the pickup truck with horse and trailer out the gate, distraught at being left out of the adventure.
So his world was limited to this spot of sloping land that looks down on the Tarqui valley.
Yesterday Bandolero lead and Pampero followed at the end of the lead rope I held in my left hand. We ambled up the dead end dirt road and onto a mountain trail. Pampero’s ears danced and his eyes were keen to every tidbit of life beyond his previous world. He soaked it up, light on his feet, head swiveling to each new distraction – a tethered grazing cow, a growling darting dog, a puddle he suspected was endlessly deep.
The world was opening up. I suspect his dreams were coming true. His future includes wild rides in a trailer to be offloaded amidst other eager horses, then off on heart stopping trails into the high Sierra. I believe he feels complete and is now free to live the destiny of a horse. It makes my heart sing.