It’s horsey love from all corners. I am moved.
(I’m also scaring my family. I need to buy waterproof mascara. “Honey, under your eyes…it’s like…BLACK there, are you okay?” )
I couldn’t be better. Hudson to love up, and notable horse nieces and nephews to hug. I’m in awe I get to have these connections, so magical, in my life. Dinero, usually so serious, hams it up for the camera, and makes me roll with laughter. He waited until Bella walked away, and then made this face at me:
by the time Bella returned, he looked completely serious, ready to go work some cattle.
More Horse Valentines!
After college I didn’t ride horses for years. I couldn’t afford more than a lesson a week, and found myself nearly in tears leading up to each lesson over my frustration at not being able to develop a relationship/progress with a horse. It ended up being easier to NOT ride than face that every week.
After my student loans were paid off, I was ready to get my first horse. And then my mom lost her job and suddenly I was supporting both of us, and paying mortgages on two places. There went all my horsey savings, and yet again I put off getting back into riding. At the time I was devastated, but you make the choices you need to sometimes. I had multiple friends tell me that karma would make it up to me.
Two years later, I had somehow changed my mind on discipline. I had spent the 2008 Olympics awake to watch the live stream of dressage online, and realized even if I could never afford a horse to win world championships on (like I could if I did breed showing) I still wanted to do it. I wasn’t really financially ready yet when the universe started throwing horses at me. As in, emails about free horses who needed good homes. I ended up with a mare who had been taken off a truck headed to Mexico because she had a nursing foal. She was so underweight and crippled she almost couldn’t stand, but 6 months later she was much stronger and no longer underweight. Friends insisted this was building up my good karma, too.
I ended up needing to move her to a barn where she would have a safe place to run around, because as she got stronger, the lack of somewhere safe for her to run was causing issues. I had always thought a barn close to my house was beautiful, and checked – they had one pen which was going to open right when I wanted to move her, with round pens of varying sizes. And a dressage trainer from whom I could take lessons.
About a month after I moved my horse, my trainer had a three-day event a couple of hours out-of-town. I went to watch, and saw the most beautiful horse I had ever seen. Total love at first sight.
He didn’t do so well – it turns out he managed to get a stone bruise between warming up and going in the ring to jump, and he still went with no arguments, but hit two rails. Apparently they were the only rails he had hit all year. Oh, and it was my new trainer riding him. I met him just after he’d been given bute. He was standing with his head out his stall door and ears pinned because he HATES bute. I walked near him, and he immediately perked up and reached out with ears forward, looking to say hello. And pinned his ears again as soon as I walked away.
He was about to have the winter off at his owner’s home. He had been for sale but not really marketed all season, and several people had tried him, liked him, and he made it clear he didn’t like them. I heard little mentions of him from other people – how he was crazy, so hard to ride, really nutty, needed a very advanced rider because he was so athletic he could do great things if matched with the right person, and should be eventing up through Advanced. Everything indicated he was the wrong horse for me, not to mention I wasn’t looking yet and he was priced well above my range.
I checked out some young warmbloods to get an idea of what would work well for me, but this OTTB just stuck in my head. After I had discussed price range with my trainer, the owner of this horse was talking to her and said I really should go try him out. My first ride was when he hadn’t been ridden in months, and I asked my trainer if we should longe him. She responded that she would just get on, and in my head I thought “So the crazy is just a rumor…” While I was grooming him, he just wanted me to pet him and talk to him and make myself known. Going through my head was “So his hating people is just a rumor…” It turned out we liked each other enough for a trial period, and within two weeks he would leave his feed to watch me every time he heard my truck pulling into the driveway. He passed the vet check ridiculously well. Findings included a tiny notch on his eyelid and sensitive skin, but joints which made the vet question if he had truly ever raced. The previous owner came down in price to what I could afford, because she knew I was the perfect match for him. He has crazy moments – I refer to it as “excessive exuberance” – but he’s still the most beautiful horse I’ve ever seen, and becomes even more so daily as I work with him and learn greater depths of how amazing his personality is.
This horse who hated people, was grumpy, was crazy – now uses his turnout time to practice lateral movements and transitions within the trot. He’s a far nicer horse than I should have been able to find for the money, with the potential that if we don’t make it to the upper levels it’s my fault not his, and I have reverted to the personality of a little girl with her first pony. He’s my seventh horse I’ve ever had, but clearly and without question the love of my horsey life – and apparently that karma thing DID work out. We’re moving to horse property next month so I can look out my bedroom window at his corral (a 200’x140′ corral!) On top of his beauty and love for dressage, he’s also the funniest horse I’ve ever known. And enjoys making shadow puppets on the wall: