Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Five Horses We Meet In Life

"The Five Horses We Meet in Life"
This is an email that's been getting forwarded around and I thought I would join in answering.

1. The Intro Horse.
We each came into horses in our own way, but it was always with a horse leading us. This might have been a friend’s first pony, or perhaps it was a draft horse on a farm you once visited It might have been a real-life meeting, or an imaginary one.

I really don't remember NOT liking horses, but according to my parents when my dad rented a pony for my 4th birthday party I wouldn't stop talking about having my own. I just remember being annoyed that the lady leading me didn't let me gallop and jump the logs in our big back yard. I was the birthday girl after all!

2. The Experimental Horse
Once you had crossed the line between “Darn, they’re big!” and “Wow! Can I try that?” you found yourself face-to-face with the horse that would suffer through your early attempts at figuring out the whole horse experience … wherever this horse came from, he probably didn’t benefit from the encounter as much as you did.

This is probably the lesson horse I rode most of my career at Royce Stables in Walla Walla, WA. He was a hardship registered Pinto gelding that was on his 3rd or 4th career teaching Dressage. When I started taking lessons on him he was at least 18 as far as anyone could remember and by the time he passed away a couple winters ago he must have been at least 30 and some counts put him at 33 yrs old. He was sway-back, stubborn, slow, heavy on your hands and dead to the leg and I loved him! He was a pro at putting up with little kids and their lunge-line lessons.

3. The Connected Horse
The first horses we meet don’t really connect with us, nor do we with them. Those are experiences in survival and tests of endurance. The Connected Horse is the first horse you truly bond with. This is the horse that sounds a chord that lives so deep in you that you might never have heard it otherwise.

I would say this is Cas, Spotless's dad. TB OTTB, treated like trash after his decent career and came to me skin and bones. He was AMAZING! I had no idea what I was doing taking care of a stallion and he was one of the easiest horses to keep and handle I've ever had. You could canter on a loose rein through the fields with a mare in heat. He was my dream horse. He passed away only 6 months after I got him, which was decades too soon. His front ankles both broke, just like the famous racing filly that died last year. The vet had never seen anything like it. They said it must have been an old racing injury or caused by injections or something. He was an awesome horse and his son sure has his loving, sensible temperament.

4. The Challenger
Into each horseperson’s life, a little challenge must fall. You’ll have read that one final training book, bought yourself a clicker and heading rope, and there you’ll stand, arms crossed, assessing the situation as if you actually knew what the situation was. It might be difficult to believe, as you are flying down the aisleway on the losing end of a braided cotton line, but you actually need this horse in your life.

I think several horses have been this one for me.

Lady Ghirardelli (Delli), my first horse. 14.3 H, 11 yrs old, Appy/Arab/Hackney mutt mare. She would buck me off and go cantering away. She escaped from her stall the first night and sent us running across the fields in the dark to find her. By the time I sold her she was going Intro Level and was so well-behaved she went on to be a successful 4H show pony.

KT Copper War Rebel, my first ground-up horse. 15.2H, AQHA gelding, bought him as a yearling. He was an easy start as a late 2 yr old, but got more challenging as the years went by. I sold him at 4 yrs old when he made it clear he was NOT going to be a ring show horse, nor was he a fan of Dressage. He went on to be a competitive Barrel horse from what I hear.

Amigo Flame, favorite horse so far. 13.1H, 1/4 Shetland, 3/4 Arab pony. Bought him as a barely handleable 3 yr old stud prospect, got him gelded (when I got him home in the day light it was apparent ALL 4 feet turn out!). I had a great time teaching him. By the time I sold him only 8 months later he was a kid's show-pony. AWESOME little man. If you see him up for sale, SNATCH him up! He stormed the trails like an endurance horse, shined in the show-ring, and took everything in stride. He was a great all-arounder prospect and is now started in jumping by the current owners. He is the one I've sold that I would take back in a heart-beat.

5. Your Deepest Heart
There will come a time when you will look at yourself with a cold, appraising eye, and you’ll have to be honest about your continued ability to deal with The Challenger and other difficult horses. At that point, you’ll seek out the horse that will be your soul mate forever… You’ll have bought him the most comfortable, best fitting equipment… Maybe you’ll still go to shows and ride – brilliantly or barely – in the Alzheimer’s class. Maybe you’ll just stay home. Whatever you do, one day you’ll realize that after all the money you spent on animal communicators and trainers, you only had to stop and listen and you would have clearly heard your horse’s thoughts and desires.

This may be Dazzle, but maybe not. If not, I certainly haven't found it yet. I have a feeling Dazzle will be my forever packer. She is mellow and sensible and I could see being happy with her forever. She is up for anything and will happily change disciplines everyday.

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