Sunday, December 9, 2012

Parade Whispers and a Gift

It was time for our small town parade. Our town might be small, but our parade is huge -- 80 floats.

This year I offered up Lily to Gracie, my daughter's BFF, and sat on the side line. Sierra rode Cody.

Why did Sierra ride Cody and not Lily? Because right now the most important thing to my daughter at this age is to look cool. She can get a little nervous on Lily because of Lily's hot nature. And when a teenager is trying to balance cool and a hot horse, bad things happen.

Gracie is a competitive rider, and I knew she could handle Lily without much help.

But there was a moment. Not that Gracie was in any peril, not by a long shot. But Lily was doing her version of "jigging," eyes getting wide, nervous pacing, and I could feel the nerves of both horse and rider getting a little frayed.

I walked over and said, "You're doing a great job with her, Grace. All the horses are getting a little up." I stroked Lily's neck, feeling the zipping energy on her coat. "Here's a couple things. Sing her a song. You'll help her breathe."  I stroked Lily's ears, and she bowed her head, softened her eye. She started to zen out. "Also Lily like strokes, not pats.  So give that a try instead."

I felt the energy, the prickly energy, drain right out of Lily and Gracie's perpetual smile lost its strain. They were ready again. Collected again.

I missed Smokey, right then, a deep dark ache that I try to ignore most of the time.

Lily and Gracie did beautifully in the parade. Cody and Sierra were a stunning and calm pair that allowed my daughter to keep looking cool to her friends along the parade route without the weight of worry.

I watched the horses carry their riders along their asphalt journey, full of ribbons and garland and bows and glitter, and remembered a parade a year ago, where I sang to my horse and calmed us both right back down.

Next year, I'll ride in the parade, one way or another.


On another note:

If you're a fan of my Crib Note series, I have a gift for you.

I've put together a pdf of my holiday Crib Notes (unedited, so if you are a frustrated copy editor, go easy on me) and it's FREE.

Just send me an email here and I'll send it your way. It's also available on Amazon for Kindle, but I can't make it free there, for some reason. So I have it set for the cheapest possible price, 99 cents.

You can find it on Amazon here.


My novel Matchbook is back from my editor and BFF, and she had so many fantastic ideas that now I have to work on it. I'll let you know when that is ready too!


Anonymous said...

Helping a worried horse calm down is a gift - and singing (probably not mine, though!) can really do the trick - also because you can't sing and hold your breath at the same time!

They look great in the parade - thanks for the picture!

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

I sang to Val today - best calmer downer ever, human and equine.

Our Xmas parade was yesterday. I chose to sit it out - again. Before Val, I rode in all the parades, but we're just not there yet.

As it turns out, one rider made quite a scene hitting the pavement after some rearing that almost went over backwards, so I guess I'm glad we weren't there.

We'll be there next year too!

shadowlake2005 said...

I'm glad girls are still riding in small town Christmas parades, just like I did when I was a kid. And singing? My Willow seems to like "The Gypsy Rover". Go figure, Carmel Quinn I'm not.

cheyenne jones said...

People forget, that pats to a horse are uncomfortable, strokes are the best.