The horses that I am most thankful for....
With the Thanksgiving holiday around the corner, it’s easy to get lost in grocery shopping, travel, bad weather, family plans, over-eating (YEAH!!) and turkey comas. We often spend some of our holiday time to give thanks about what we have - health, homes, family, jobs, dreams, you name it.
But I’m here to give thanks for some, of the many, very specific horses with some very specific jobs - and everything they have taught me, and every time they have surprised me (which is a LOT...)
The first horse that I ever groomed and rode was an Appy named Chief. He was a strawberry roan, and love at first sight. He was as stubborn as the day is long, but no match for my determination. He taught me to walk, trot, and canter in one short month at summer camp. I’m so thankful that he also taught me about how horses love scratches, treats, and praise.
The next horse that I am thankful for is Gent. He was a school horse with a club foot that I rode in my “formative years”. My lessons were at 6:30 pm on Mondays, no matter the season or the weather. We always rode - even when it was 20 degrees. He taught me that horses come first! He also taught me that horses can pick their people. There was another student who also loved him, and in some ways we were competitive with each other. At a horse show, he ran out of the ring with her, but was a perfect Gent for me, placing us at the top of a class. Years later, I realize that horses can “click” with some people, not with others.
Then comes Comet. He’s the first horse I have owned, and he taught me everything else. EVERYTHING. His favorite lesson happens the second I get comfortable, and something happens. This clown loves to stump the Vet, knows a zillion tricks, and is beyond obnoxious. He taught me how to read and listen to horses. It doesn’t matter if you are a trail rider or headed to the Olympics, you must be able to hear what they are telling you.
Enter Miguel, the horse that came to me fully trained to Grand Prix, but taught me that even after decades in the saddle I had no idea what I was doing. He taught me about horse gears, fancy tricks, and how to be really humbled in a very short period of time. He also taught me how to retire a horse to an easier life, and how to deal with chronic illness so that he’s comfortable every day. He will be the one to teach me how to hold the lead rope in the last moments, and how to remember his life with happiness and not sadness.
To the horses that have gone on to new homes, thank you for letting me learn from you while you were in my care. To the horses that make so many kids at the barn beam with joy, you have taught me why we love horses. And, to the horses that have put me in the dirt, I thank you for teaching me how to land.
What special horse are you thankful for?