Horses are usually fenced within landowner property but we have turned this outdated convention on its head. Paul and I live in a human corral surrounded by thirty-five acres of equine territory. This arrangement ensures our ungulate family members don’t trample the garden or engage in rambunctious residence ransacking. We live cocooned within the communal eye of a free roaming herd.
The only furniture not within the inner sanctum of our human living quarters is a yoga platform. It sits in a shaded sanctuary beneath the Russian Olive grove, a favored area of the equines. The elegant structure is a grid of welded iron fitted with indestructible trex boards, custom-made to withstand the elements and equines.
Chief has shown a special interest in the platform. As I stretch my limbs and contemplate life I feel a presence. Sure enough, I turn to see a pillar of mule rising from the silver sage abutting the grove, his broad face and curious eyes studying my contortions. I laugh and call to him, but he disappears to take up vantage from a different angle. Bolstering my vanity, I think he finds me interesting.
Chief is impressive. Galloping with unbridled exuberance the ground shakes beneath his 1200 pounds. His athletic prowess of twisting bucks while snaking his huge head in serpentine fashion defies gravity. The chap is high-spirited. He is also a prankster. Whatever is not nailed down is tossed airborne with an irreverent nose flip. But the yoga platform is too sturdy for his antics.
Over the past couple of years Paul and I have watched Chief patrol his property. While the mustangs and burro Maggie are grazing or dozing, Chief stands sentinel on the volcanic precipice surveying his kingdom for unusual activity. When he took to yoga platform viewing he had an elevated height advantage. Front hooves confidently on the trex, his towering shoulders and handsome head alert in diligent surveillance, he reigned in protective benevolence.
Lucky practicing yoga on Chief’s observation platform
A break in frigid temperatures last week encouraged me to visit the platform after a forced winter respite. Yoga mat and other accoutrements under my arm, I strode up in anticipation of an hour of serenity. The once sleek platform was a twisted wreckage of mangled steel curled beneath a heap of broken trex boards. I returned to the scene with Paul in tow. After all, Chief is “his mule”.
The demise of the yoga platform was quintessential Chief and no Sherlock snoop was needed to figure out the story. As we stood surveying the damage we felt the presence and turned to witness a tawny neck pillar rising from the dense brush. His intelligent eyes were gauging our emotional temperature. We laughed in exasperation. Our status as reasonable humans rose a couple of notches in his exacting standards. We know because (we swear!) he smiled with us.