I remember the first time I ran Hombre. I intended to canter. That was not what happened. He took off like a bullet almost before I could cue him, and then I couldn’t stop. I remember thinking to myself, “Whatever you do, you cannot fall off! He’s a stallion, he cannot be loose!” He finally stopped by jumping sideways over a young hazelnut tree, nearly becoming a gelding. We all laugh now about that first run, and how little I truly knew. What I didn’t know until much later was that Hombre and I could outrun anything that life brought me.
When I learned to control him, mostly, (ok, stay on and stop), we would run for fun. Sometimes we would run because it was sunny, or because it was rainy, or because my life was sunny and it felt good, or because my life was rainy. I discovered that when I ran my eyes watered, so I could cry and blame it on the speed. We often ran when I needed to cry. He always knew when I really needed him, and he carried me faithfully, and I tell you, that horse grew wings. We would fly. And we would stop at the end of the field, and he would ask, in his own way, if I needed more or if I was good.
Fast forward a few more years. We ran less as he got older, and our running was mostly limited to the arena during our object lessons on trust at camp. But he still knew when I needed him. I was older too, and had learned different ways to deal with the sunny days and rainy days, but some storms were just too much to not run through. Hombre has always known. He is always ready.
One of the last times I really just ran with him was after the biggest storm to date, the loss of our daughter. I couldn’t function. I was numb. I needed to feel. I got out ‘ol Bre, faithful Hombre, and tacked him up, telling him the story. He listened. I got on and we danced. We always dance, but this was a different dance. This dance said “Run. Just run.” So we ran around that arena, and the tears stung from the wind, and I could feel the wind around me, and feel his hooves under me, and I know he grew wings again. I don’t know how he gathered that much speed, but we flew. And then we stopped, and he knew that I had what I needed, and now I could just bend forward and cry into his mane, and he would carry me.