Clifford was in rare form today, eager to hit the road. I had a lot of preliminary work to do, pulling the burrs from his mane, forelock and tail. It took over an hour. He endured it all pretty patiently, but when he saw me getting books and watercolors out, he started getting excited. I can think of few things this horse likes better than painting. At any rate, he was able to vent his artistic urges on six or seven books. I gave him a couple of peppermints and then said, “Come on,” and he followed me back into the stall. When I went out, he turned around and tried to follow me back out. I slid the door shut and he pinned his ears! Man, he was mad! He just wanted to keep signing books. I took some pictures of a few of our pages and listed one on eBay. I may list more.
I went and got the saddle and put it on him. He was so fidgety and excited from all this attention that he could barely stand still. When I pulled out the camera, he did manage to stand still just for a moment, to strike a pose.
We went down the road. I’ve been a little concerned about his knee this year, but have started dosing him with StemEquine. He did feel a little stiff in the beginning, but as we went along I felt him loosening up. We walked a couple of miles, and sure enough, by the time we got back to the bottom of the big hill, he was ready to rock and roll. He at first tried to gallop up across the neighbor’s groomed lawn, to their hilltop. I pulled him back and kept him on track until we got to our driveway. He was dancing around and started rolling his head. I was cracking up! “You are behaving so badly!” I said. But I had a twinge — that twinge of complete happiness known as the peak experience. It has been a long while since I’ve felt that.
“Oh, all right.” I let him go. We blasted up that hill. The arthritis, the winter fat, the years fell away from both of us, for those windblown, galloping moments.
Being together for seventeen years causes you to know someone so well, but there is still so much joy in these routines. I am grateful to have a long term friend like Clifford.