I had one of my crazy dreams last night. I was taking Keil Bay to an underground spring that bubbled up with therapeutic properties both from the water, the action of the spring, and the mud it produced. In the dream, this was a favorite thing for him, and very convenient since in this dream we lived in an urban neighborhood and the underground spring was in the corner of a dirt parking lot behind a restaurant.
I put Keil's saddle and bridle on so we could ride down the neighborhood street. It was a nice neighborhood, but busy. There were cars, sidewalks, trees, honking, pedestrians, and generally a lot more activity than I would ever be comfortable riding in unless on a police horse. But in the dream it was perfectly normal and just another trip to the mud bath.
We arrived, and Keil Bay pawed at the mud, which triggered the spring to flow. He got his front feet down into the red clay mud pit and the water began to rush gently over his feet and lower legs. I had dismounted and stood off to the side. People from the restaurant were coming out onto the patio to watch. Of course, all of them remarked on how handsome Keil Bay was. He did his characteristic turn of the head to gaze into my eyes, nuzzled my arm, and then turned back to his mud. This got a chorus of "how sweet" from all the bystanders.
Up to this point, the dream was pretty much what it would be like if indeed we lived in that setting and were used to navigating through parked cars, people, and the noise of a city block.
Then it was time to leave. There were a lot of people in the parking lot when it was time to go, and several cars trying to pull in and park, so there wasn't much room to move. I realized it might be easier to long line Keil Bay out of there. (this is where dreamland takes over)
Miraculously the reins lengthened to driving reins, and I had a driving whip. Miraculously both Keil Bay and I were quite expert at this and the long lines tucked themselves in on either side of the saddle so they weren't dangling too low. In no time at all I had backed him up, turned him on the forehand, and we were walking briskly back toward home.
As we headed across the busy street, next to a row of tall but tiny-trunked trees, Keil Bay began to trot. I gave a cue and he began to piaffe. Suddenly I could see every limb moving in front of me. His legs were moving perfectly, and I was able to see and assess every joint. Wow, I thought, this is great!
We alternated trotting and piaffing depending on the traffic and my ability to keep up. And then, the dream went totally wonky.
Keil Bay began to do the Totilas version of extended trot. "Stop that!" I called out to him. I was embarrassed, for one thing, but it also seemed clear to me from behind that this wild front leg action was not practical out in the real world of the neighborhood sidewalk. And indeed, one of Keil's front legs went wildly forward and got caught on a tree trunk. We had to stop, back up, untangle that leg, and then start again.
I decided maybe we should cross back to the right side of the street, where there were no trees just waiting to tangle us up. But there was a front yard fenced in tall chain link fencing, and when Keil resumed that front leg action a hoof jammed in the fencing and we had to stop and untangle. It was an animal rescue, and there were cats and dogs and one big bear who came snuffling over to the fence to see what was what. I was worried Keil Bay had never seen a bear before and might spook with his hoof stuck and either injure his hoof or take the whole fence down, but remarkably, he and the bear sniffed noses and I got the hoof free.
"No more of that Totilas stuff," I warned, and off we went again, trotting along in Keil's beautiful floating trot.
Just when I was relaxing into this, a huge Cadillac backed out of a driveway ahead of us, and Keil Bay went back into Totilas mode, striking out with his hooves in front of him like he was trying to hit the car with them. The driver of the Cadillac, a heavy-set man with a heavy accent, put down his window and called out, "What's wrong with that horse? He looks lame!" and as he gawked at Keil's front leg action, he lost track of what he was doing and veered toward us in the big black car. We had to quickly go into lateral movement to get out of the way, and it was extremely tricky given Keil's front legs were at this point going in what seemed like every different direction.
I went up to Keil's head and said, "Really, now, that is enough of that. No more Totilas!"
And then I woke up.