During mounting and stirrup adjustments, one person was at Marcel's head and one at his offside. Both were doing their best to keep this piaffe-ing time bomb from exploding. Pam took a deep breath and picked up the reins. The two young ladies who were assisting let go.
"I felt VERY alone even with the arena full of people who had come to watch us!" Pam told me.
They pranced their way over to the rail. She had forgotten the thrill of riding a good Saddle Horse. His hind end dropped out from under her, his neck came up and back and Pam peered anxiously between his ears as they began their paces. Marcel started down the rail at a brisk trot. His knees were pumping like pistons up and down in front of his shoulders. His hock action kept her out of the saddle more time than in. Pam's heart raced with excitement as she worked Marcel around the arena. She huffed and puffed and sweated her way through the lesson.
When she had finished and dismounted, well wishers surrounded her commenting on how well she had handled him. They questioned how long she had been riding, where she got her start and told her what a beautiful pair she and Marcel made.
"He is not an easy horse to ride, ya know." One of the students commented to her.
"I was being set up!" Pam said laughingly.
While she was basking in her moment of glory, the stable owner knew it was the perfect moment to tell Pam, Marcel was for sale AND that she would give her a good deal on him. Pam gazed at the beautiful Marcel. Marcel ignored her. She told the barn owner she would think about it and started to walk forward with the reins in her hand. She came to an abrupt stop as Marcel, who was standing parked out refused to move. In came the 12-year-old savior again. Marcel walked willingly with her.
Back in Marcel's stall, Pam untacked him. He tried to bite her. She again danced around his snapping jaws as she groomed him. She reached up to remove his halter and the moment she unlatched it, he threw his head back and flew out of it, retreating to the back corner of his stall.
"I swear that he glared at me with the whites of his eyes showing again!"
No matter. The childhood dream of owning an American Saddlebred show horse was resurfacing and the romance of it all was taking over.