[Author’s note: I have written this in celebration of the inner animal spirit shared by humans and non-humans alike. It is a spirit that shouldn’t and perhaps can’t be subdued. It might be what Zen Master Chao-chou had in mind when upon being questioned as to how one might rid oneself of passion, he replied “Why get rid of it!”]
She was always a potential runaway. You needed to keep that in mind. If you didn’t she could bolt and be gone before you could do anything to stop her. She was a big horse. She could hit a full gallop in the space of a few yards, the bit in her teeth, her neck stretched taut, nostrils flared, her powerful legs pumping her forward without direction or intent. Once started, nothing but her own exhaustion ever stopped her.
At times I could smell a runaway coming, feel the heat of it in the palms of my hands as though they were held over a flame. I would take up the reins, drawing in the slack ever so lightly, and tell her “Whoa now, Smokey. Easy now.