Over the last day and night, for whatever odd reason, I've just been thinking of how amazing my horse is. I mean, of course she is amazing, but every so often it just hits me that I have the loveliest horse I could ask for. Yes, I dream about other breeds and colors and disciplines, but at this moment, I would not trade anything for the partnership I have with my Lady.
I cannot say that I've always done the best for my horses. I've made mistakes, plenty of them, and sometimes my ponies have paid the price. But, no matter what, this beautiful girl has always been here for me.
She has tested and tried me until I cried in frustration and tried to give up. And yet, every time I nearly despair, she greets me the next day with a nicker and a soft eye and proves me wrong again.
I have always had great dreams, of soaring over fences and winning races and so on and so forth. When I searched for a new horse, I had those dreams in the back of my mind. I tried out enormous Quarter Horses (truly, some of them were disproportionately enormous), pony crosses, a cute little POA mare. I tried a lovely Arabian mare that was confirmed pregnant at the time, a 2 year old that had already been started for nearly a year (poor thing!), and a lovely tall cross-breed that was quite honestly too big for me at the time.
I found this girl by accident. The horse advertised was a dominant pinto QH cross mare. She was sweet, but we just didn't mesh. Before we left that day, the owner offered to let me try Lady out. She wasn't officially for sale, but he said he would consider it since she had been sitting in the pasture for some time. She had been a competitive barrel and poles horse and won several championships. She was the go-to trail/endurance horse, and had been bred several months before. I really liked her immediately, but it was touch-and-go for several weeks because the owners just could not make up their mind whether to sell her. We finally did get her, the week before Christmas, and for a whole lot less than she was worth (the owner told me when I met her that he could sell her for several thousand if he wanted to).
It took me some time to really figure her out, but it has been totally worth it. Not everyone appreciates some of her attributes, but I don't think there is a single part of her that I would change.
- She really likes children. She gives pony rides like a pro, and loves to get her nose into everything.
- She isn't an in-your-pocket kind of horse, but when she wants to cuddle, its memorable.
- She is such a pretty color. I will forever have a soft spot in my heart for bays and blazes.
- She is an Arabian. Many people have negative opinions about Arabs, but I've always loved them.
- She is tolerant. Never had an issue with spooking at tarps, vehicles, you name it. Not spooky at all.
- She listens. I have never ever had to be rough with her or use force.
- Comfortable. I've ridden other horses, but none of them have gaits to compare with Lady's.
- Easy to manage. Sort of. I'm not sure what I would do with a skinny horse. Lady is round.
- Solid feet. Yes, this can be a pain, but having soft or brittle hooves would drive me crazy.
- Personality. Please don't shut your horse's personality down just to get what you want. Please.
- Spirit. Some prefer a laid-back horse, but I absolutely love the spirited ones.
- She is so very sensitive. I don't want to be using muscle to get my aids across and I don't have to. She responds to thoughts.
Will this horse ever fly with me over fences? No, her jumping is limited now because of arthritis. She could still win some races, especially over the "cute" Quarter Horses everyone owns around here, and she is capable of lower-level dressage, which we are working on. Most of my big dreams will not be achieved with this horse, but she has given me so many keys that I can use to further my success with other horses. I don't plan to purchase another horse of my own until I graduate from college (5ish years from now) and with Lady turning 16 this year, I have to expect that she will continue to decline bit by bit during that time.
But I truthfully don't care. She has been and will continue to be the best horse I could have asked for. I grew up on the back of this horse and there is something to be said for the girl who had 4 hooves to carry her away during the hardest years of childhood. I owe my courage and my strength to her. She is my heart and my soul.
Extra side note... if anyone remembers, please send up a little prayer or thought. Lady has been in a fair amount of discomfort the past week (hocks and stifles) and I'm doing what I can to keep her happy and comfortable.