Riding a Steed
Whether you plan to depart on a donkey,
horse or 'shanks mare', such travels requires
training and experience of which I have but little.
But, for what its worth, here is an excerpt
from my just published book
"Songs of the Gusari" that may be of help ---
"We were a contrast of temperament and ability.
He rode easily, as if strolling down a sandy beach. He strummed his strange instrument of five blocked strings and sang songs to blend with the call of birds and the shattering roar of the cataract to our left. His reins lay in his lap, yet his small Scythian pony made a choice of splitting path without apparent hesitation. As his feet hung almost to the ground, I watch for the time his leg wrappings might catch in the brush and pull him from his jaunty perch. Alas, he always drew his legs up high when risk chanced by while he continued to pronounce on cliffs, clouds, flowers and forest bird.
Jamic, on the other hand - that is myself, rode like a farm bumpkin on his first trip to market. Every twist and rocky impediment of the ever-climbing trail seemed a challenge to my otherwise trustworthy Alsatian steed. My back ached from constant shifting and adjustment of rump and hand and knee. Branches reached out to grasp at my cloak. Burrs found their way under my chain-mail, and small tree cones even fell on my head. Was I being punished for some unknown offense? Did the Gusari's mysterious bond with the forest extent to commanding its abuse and torment? Ah, were it so. Then I might plead for release or insight. It is something else...
Jamic was jolted from his reverie by the realization that they were now descending into the valley. Where had the time gone? He had been asleep upon his horse - impossible! He had enough trouble with full effort and muscle. "Oh, now I recall," he mused. At the last rest stop next to a bank of residual snow, Kiyan had shown him the Alani Rings tied to his thighs. Simple thongs of leather tied separately to each leg above the knee with a brass ring attached. While riding, these two rings were laced to the horse's main. This was the secret of the famous Scythian horseman who could fire arrows from their horses at full gallop. Likewise, the natural movement of the horse's head in ascent or turn would warn of possible peril. With practice, man and steed became woven into one smooth gliding drift of beauty, confidence and strength. Both gained from the exchange. "But what if you fall, or need quickly to dismount?" I foolishly asked. With mirthful eyes the Gusari placed his thumbs within the Rings and pulled sharply upward. The thongs released from his legs and he spun the freed device around his head. With a snap, it spun through the air to wrap around a tree at the height of a man's throat. Once again, I felt a chill run down my spine. The Gusari was such a man of peace - and yet!"
writing as Jamic von Drudenstein, 1261 AD