Lost in the Dance

The hair along his neck sways like water...

One step. Two step. Now cross. His slender white legs twist to fit the movement. Crossed in front, steady in the back. One step. A foreleg rises suddenly and pauses mid-step. Two step. The other rises while the first falls. His movements are quick, solid, frozen; beautiful. Now cross. Yet again the forelimbs cross; displaying their perfection and flexibility. One step. The routine starts again. Two step. His head barely moves. Now cross. The hair along his neck sways like water; shimmering. One step. He knows this dance perfectly. Two step. It’s become him and he breathes it.

Now pause.

All four feet placed firmly on the ground, he waits for the next command. Hind cross. His hind leg snakes under his belly, settling on the other side. Now pause. The other hind returns to its correct place. Hind cross. The same maneuver is repeated; again and again, until he has turned ninety degrees.

Now pause.

The dance continues. Step by slender step. He follows the lead of his partner, the cues running clearly through his mind. He anticipates, but knows his timing. Every movement is perfect; placed with skill and precision. His silky tail brushes the ground as he moves and wheels about. Fast and yet slow. Swift in the movements. Slow in the delivery. Timing.

Now pause.

His partner is signaling the end of their dance, the cues are not mistaken. He bends his glorious body to match. Swaying with the rhythm. Left. He side-steps. Right. Back where he was. Right again. The motion is fluid. Left again. He glides into place. Back. He collects himself for the finale.

Now up.

His rises up on his hinds, striking with his fores and nodding his head in approval. His mane and tail ripple gently in a slight breeze. He holds the position, waiting for the command to fall. The smell of pine and blooming flowers access his senses. Birds twitter. A river gurgles. The trees sway in the soft wind. He continues his pawing.

Now down.

With a thud his feet strike the earth. He holds the standing position, awaiting his release. Awaiting those words of praise. Awaiting that touch of pleasure. But the wind is still. The birds grow silent. The sound of the river fades away. His mind is focused on what he cannot have.


Andrea looked out from the house and watched the magnificent white horse standing stock-still in the pasture. His muscles tense and toned, ready for anything. A translucent tear escaped her eye and she turned to her brother.

“Do you think he knows Dad’s gone?” She asked a quiver in her voice. Nathan wrapped his arm around his sister and they both turned back to the pasture. The Pura-Raza-Española was still a statue; standing in his arena of green.

“I think he knows where Dad is…” He said, gazing at the proud horse that refused to believe in his master’s death. “…and I think he’s honoring him. In the only way he can.”

~ by R.S.Sharkey on February 9, 2011.

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