One of the things that interests me about having a horse is mapping her moods. I like learning the discreet signs, the tiny flags. I like learning to read my mare like a book. In this book, the chapters are always filled with shifting things. It is never, ever dull.
She has moods not because she is a chestnut mare, or because she has three white socks (there are certain people who seriously will not buy a horse with three or four white socks; I have two words for them – The Minstrel), or because she is a Thoroughbred. She has moods because she is a sentient creature.
Today she was in her finest one. It is a happy, alert stillness. She is not in a dopey doze, she is quick and interested. When everything is well with her, she has this marvellous stillness, as if the atoms that configure her splendid body are at rest. It is a spreading peace, and it brings me joy.
I had not specially thought what mood I was in. Sometimes when I wake up, I check for demons. Am I cranky or delighted? Melancholy or hopeful? Sometimes, if it is the former, I attempt to bamboozle myself through the power of song. (Good morning, Starshine is a special favourite for this.) Today I was running late, and heavy rain was forecast, and I wanted to get up to ride before it came, so I had no time to think about anything else.
In fact, the rain did not pitch up. It turned out to be one of Scotland’s prettiest mornings. Deep blue clouds were massing in dreamy formations over the mountains, so that the sky looked like a wild seascape. The colours were a curious combination of muted but intense. It was like being in a painting.
We did good groundwork, had a lot of love, Red made me laugh, and we had one of those rides where everything goes right. She floated over the ground, light and willing; there was that delirious feeling of harmony, when I don’t know where I end and she begins. It happens like that sometimes.
It was only after I got back, had breakfast with the Mother and the Lovely Stepfather, and returned to my desk, that I realised I was in a very, very good mood.
The regular readers will know that I sometimes complain of moods. I don’t mind good, honest emotions, even if they are painful ones. I can deal with being sad, or even being angry. What I absolutely hate are the middly, muddly emotions, the feelings of being stymied or stuck, as if you have swallowed a cricket ball and it is lodged, useless and heavy, in your solar plexus. I hate the inexplicable, pointless heaviness that sometimes comes for no good reason. I can deal with strong, clean emotions, the ones that move through you, and have an explanation and a purpose.
But inexplicable moods can also be good things, I suddenly think. There is no reason for me to feel light and joyful today. Nothing has especially changed. The Beloved Cousin did ring last night, and hearing her voice always lifts my spirits. We have one of those ancient friendships where everything is understood, nothing needs to be explained, there is complete sympathy between us, and laughter is always breaking out.
So that might have been it. It might have been the lovely morning, the dear mare, the sweet whickering pony, the perfect ride. It might have been that my adorable old dog is looking brighter, and her poor sore ear seems to be getting better.
It might just be the turning of the universe.
It’s a lovely thing, anyway, and I am getting to the age where I take not one single thing for granted. A good day, a good mood, a kind word, a turn of luck are not just things to accept, but little festivals to be celebrated. So today, for no reason whatsoever, all is jubilee with me.
Autumn the Filly:
You can see her winter coat is starting to come. She has the velvety aspect of an old teddy bear. It’s so tactile and lovely that I can stand for hours and just rub her glorious neck.
Stupidly forgot to take a picture of Red’s View with the beautiful cloud formations. Here is the birch wood instead:
And my darling old Pigeon:
As long as her ears are still flying out at right angles, I have hope in my heart.