Azure blue skies clouds
with the enduring heat of the Spanish sun.
As you come through the gates on the right,
was the bar/restaurant, on the left, the stables
At the far side of the stables was the training ring
white fences and sand floor impacted by hooves.
There was a walkway down to the stables
which formed a wall where they showered the horses.
The stables were built of stone, with black painted wooden doors.
Facing the stables was a house where the stable manager lived,
with his wife and family. They had 2 dogs and a cat.
Sometimes his 3 sons helped tack up the horses for us.
I remember the stone mounting block which I used
the first time I mounted my first horse there.
A white Andalucian mare, 17 hands high, called La Dita
which meant the ‘sure thing’ and indeed she was.
She was one of the largest horses there but had a good temperament.
That first time, sitting up straight, being gentle with the reins,
as I had been instructed by the stable manager, Rafa.
Off I went into the lovely rolling hills of Andalucia.
In England, I would not have been allowed out of the training ring
for weeks. This was the Spanish way of doing things.
It was lovely just ambling along in the hot sun.
Wearing a T-shirt with Jodhpurs and riding boots.
One of the experienced riders told me to lean back
as we took a winding path down a hill.
Then she told me to lean forward as we climbed up.
I could see moving my weight helped the horse.
I talked to her in her native Spanish and her ears pricked
as if she understood every word I said.
My body had picked up her rhythm
as she swayed from side to side, so sure-footed.
La Dita climbed up the rocky hill,
placing her hooves carefully as she climbed.
Then we arrived at the top and stopped.
©Carolyn Crossley – The Vixen of Verse. 2020.