She was eager to get in the water. There was no hesitation. She went deeper into the ocean, small waves crashing against us as I made silly faces of disbelief. Little did I know I was about to embark on a new experience. Gem, is her name. My steady and sure mare who loves to be in the ocean.
Don’t get me wrong, I have been swimming with horses nearly all my life. My best friend, Tina, and I swam with horses when we were kids in my pond on rte. 89 in Mansfield, CT, USA. We’d ride bareback with each other or we would ride with the saddle so we could pull the other around. The rivers were fabulous for lining the horses up and jumping off their butts or be even more daring by swimming underneath all of them. Horses float. It is such a cool thing. While in St. Augustine, FL, my beautiful and smart horse, Penney,was willing to brave the ocean surf which is often scary for them. We even swam in a pond once. I never trusted the rivers or ponds in the south because of the alligators! I steered clear most of the time.
On my 3rd month anniversary, 9/26/15, of living in Augier, Saint Lucia I got an experience of a lifetime. The pictures only show a fraction of the experience. I sure wish I had a GoPro camera to capture all the moments. Let me paint the scene for you; we untacked my horse, I got a leg up from Max, and off I went to the beach. She was slippery, I was wobbly, and laughing. That can be a recipe for disaster. I told Max not to laugh if I fell off!
I waded into the water a bit, kind of like dipping my toes in to see how it’d be. Gem, although for the longest time I thought her name was Jim, pawed the water happily. I thought that was it but then Max joined me. He said he was “going to bathe a bit.” Bathe here means swim. As Max walked further and further out with Sensai following, we joined. I figured, if he’s going, I can go, too! At this point, Gem and I were swimming! In the ocean! I had this ear to ear smile plastered on my face. I went back and forth and around Max. It was blissful. Just then, Max said she’s likes to roll. “Huh? She likes to do what? Roll? In the water?” No sooner did he say that did Gem lay down in the water!!! Holy crap. I slid off of her and stayed close by. I held her reins in my hands and she proceeded to repeat this five or so times. It was crazy. Never, in my life have I seen a horse do this. Forget me being happy, Gem was happy as a clam.
I don’t think I’ll ever forget how utterly amazing it was to swim alongside my horse in the ocean. I rubbed her face, she towed me around as I hung onto her barrel. I could feel the power of her legs and swoosh of the water as she paddled around. In that moment there was nothing but peace, quiet, joy… The seaweed that normally freaks me out barely even registered with me. I was too in tune with Gem. I watched the horses nudge each other, Max floating face down nearby, and me, well…I simply took it all in. At one point, Max said “you look so happy!” He was right.
When we finally headed toward home, I watched as Max swung himself swiftly onto Sensai’s back and laughed at myself as I could hear my mom’s words of long ago “Get on that horse lard ass!” It’s been a few years since I could just swing myself up on my horse. We rode off into the sunset as the moon slowly rose above and glinted off the water….
Stay tuned…because I’m not sitting on the sidelines of life.
Other blogs you may be interested in:
~Brie Messier, MBA
Note: The contents of this website are mine personally and do not reflect any position of the U.S. government or the Peace Corps