Good Girl Damnit, Part 4: Nice to Meet You, Feather

This is a placeholder post for the horse-buying episode.

Feather Grazing
Feather grazing, 2012

[Something about Nancy losing her temper with Haagen]

I finally approached my mom. “I want an Icelandic horse,” I said.

“What about Smokey?” she said, reluctant to object to any decision that led to me spending less time indoors and on the computer.

“We’ll sell him,” I said, with a pang. I’d grown up riding Smokey, but I knew he wasn’t what I wanted out of a horse. I also knew he wasn’t happy with me.

As it turned out, the grandson of Smokey’s retirement pasture had been missing Smokey as much as Smokey had been missing his green grass and best friend. We sold Smokey to him for a nominal price, and I was free to look for another horse.

Sharon and Nancy took me up to the breeder where Sharon had bought Haagen Daaz, and I met Feather for the first time.

I bought Feather when I was 16 and had never ridden a green horse. Feather is a bright chestnut Icelandic mare with a flaxen mane and tail, not literally green. “Green” means she didn’t know much about being ridden. Sensitive, opinionated, and fiery, Feather had spent six years of her life in pasture and was trained to allow a rider on her back. She steered and stopped when she felt like it. Imagine a car doing this, and you’ll have a pretty good idea what riding her was like.

On our first ride, I invited her to explore a pond. She walked right into the middle and stood. Then we seemed to start sinking.

“Oh shit! We’re falling in a deep spot!” I said, as water sloshed up my thighs.

On the shore, my friend Sharon yelled, “She’s rolling!” Feather was folding her front legs in preparation to lie down in the water, not falling down.

I thumped my legs against her sides, and, leisurely, she straightened up and splashed to shore.

“She’s FUN!” I declared. I was delighted. What a personality! The next day, I gave her owner a check.

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