Saturday, May 31, 2008

Of Men and Horses

As a woman, I watch a man ride a horse well, and my eye is drawn to a couple of things: his hands soft and gentle on the reins and his seat and legs providing a good foundation for his riding skills. I figure any man (especially dressage riders) who can communicate cues to his horse through the subtle use of his hands would probably do the same thing on a woman, or man's body. In horseback riding the buttocks and thighs are your foundation. You don't wrap your legs around their barrel. You use your thighs and your seat to feel what the horse is doing beneath you, and to send subtle cues like a half halt to your horse.
So maybe that's why I find it so easy to write about men and horses. And why, Rock and Andreas struck me as two of my favorite characters. Andreas is the consummate dressage rider. He's proper and disciplined. He believes in control. Where Rock competes in the western version of dressage--reining. It's a wild sport, done at high speed with intricate maneuvers. Horses are a lot younger in the reining arena, and coming from rodeo, it was a perfect fit for Rock.
Yet, these two men, in spite of being polar opposites know all about the subtle body language of horseback riding and how a touch, a shift in position can say so much. And when they touch each other...sparks fly.

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