THE REST OF THE HOLIDAY It’s not like it’s fading, but what with daily life, trying to drum up enough freelance so I don’t have to rechain myself to someone else’s desk [although that sounds like a porfession that has absolutely nothing to do with mine!], Seville is transmuting into a series of snapshots, a remembered sound, a flash of moving imagery, like a landscape seen out the window of a moving car…

A journey into Jerez for a spectacle presented by the Real Escuela de Arte Ecuestre, an hour plus of extraordinary horseman— and one woman— ship, on the kind of Andalusian horses that dressage enthusiasts dream about. The mounted work was glorious; the groundwork not so much. The horses, some tended by as many as three equestrians, were… goaded into doing that thing where they leap up into the air, march around on their hinds legs, and generally execute movements that they didn’t appear to be enjoying. I was particularly disturbed by the bay that they tethered to posts in the centre of the arena, and basically left him to piaffe in place for, no lie, between twenty to thirty minutes. He was miserable, and I wasn’t happy to be watching it, either…

Our last dressage lesson, in which we attempted to do a sequence of moves as smoothly and precisely as possible. Ah, well, we tried! What a joy to work Guapo without stirrups, as comfortable as a baby rocked in her mother’s arms, and boy, did I work on the cantering: not just the depart, but also keeping the inside leg on, guiding him out to the track and keeping him there, maintaining the outside rein. We begged for one more go round, and Karin let us, and was also kind enough to take some photos of us all, mounted on our lovely guys…

As our confidence built towards the end of the week, so did our desire to get some pictures with our favourite lads. Bari was not the kind of horse that one could comfortably photograph from, so we all snapped each other whilst we waited to be mounted for our last trek of the week. Still not dead warm, but still bright and clear, we spent as much time on the ground as we could before we set off out into the plains of Spain [can’t help it, it’s irresistible.] Bari and I were completely in tune, and by the time we slogged through yet another river, I was ready to smuggle him home… We stopped at a farm, and the guy there plucked clementines [tangerines, satsumas, take your own pick] straight off the tree and handed them round. Bari didn’t like his as much as I thought he might. I lingered with him after untacking, but I could tell he was already detaching. Ah, well. Such is the nature of the holiday romance.

But here’s a picture of me looking as happy as a person is possible to be.

Bari n Me.jpg

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