Inside the white doughnut of the hospital's imaging machine, I close my eyes and try to guess how I wound-up here, unable to recall my name or explain the robin's egg lump on my head. I know only that I had made a breakthrough in my relationship with Huck, and then found myself staring at my car and wondering if I really knew how to drive.
Huck is a big, eleven year-old mustang mix, dun colored, with a thick black mane, black tail, and black socks. Though a mature gelding, he doesn't always act mature or gelded. On hunt courses he sprints through the woods to claim the lead even as his whithers get shredded by saplings. In the ring he's a schoolboy with attention deficit disorder, losing focus every thirty seconds and then startling at a leaf, a train whistle, a shadow.
Years ago, Huck's owner, Chris, relied on me to settle his horse with rides that taught him to act like a gentleman. As someone who came to horses in mid-life, I am intrigued by natural horsemanship, which encourages a rider to understand what horses say with their movement and posture and to lead them with the quietest cues. It is an empathetic discipline that stresses relationship. Huck gave me the chance to build one with him.