Sunday, September 22, 2013

For My Horsey Friends (not about Versed)

I have gotten a lot of readership from Chronofthehorse Chronicle Forums  As a fellow horse lover, I wrote this today for you guys knowing that you "get it." 

The horse I ride today is an APHA mare I bought as an afterthought when I purchased a QH mare for my kid.  I wasn't happy with her for years because she isn't my old horse.  She's nothing like my old horse.  She isn't high spirited.  She isn't very tall.  (She's 15.1, tall enough)  She has too much white.  She can't jump.  She makes no demands of me at all.  You can't feel the high strung personality of my old horse through the reins, nor feel the hyper overdrive of a maniac horse through my seat and legs.  My old horse was 3/4 Thoroughbred from the lines which exhibited intractability.  My horse now has not one drop of Thoroughbred in her.  And it shows.  She's gentle and willing.

So about a year ago I started berating myself for being so critical of such a nice little mare.  No she's not my old horse, but my old horse is dead.  If there is a heaven, that will be the only time I see him again other than in my dreams.  So here's a perfectly good little horse getting the short end of the stick, just because she isn't my old horse.  Not fair.  I bought her because she was the opposite of my old horse, color, sex, breeding, size, everything is different than my old horse.  I thought if I did that I wouldn't be comparing her to my old horse...

Anybody who has lost their horse partner after half a lifetime of sheer joy knows how it feels.  That horse can NEVER be replaced.  They are permanently etched in your soul.  But that doesn't mean you can't love again.  My horse likes reining and games.  So what if she can't jump?  My old horse would have exploded if I tried any of that with him.  Score one for the paint mare.  I can sit sideways in my saddle and talk to my friends now.  Not with the old horse, he would have thrown me in a minute.  He never was any good at standing still, no matter what.  My mare will stand for hours, tied to the trailer, or while I'm grooming or whatever.  There is an ease of mind knowing that your horse won't kill itself or others being tied.  Or dig giant holes in the cross tie area.

I've traded the electricity of my old horse's mouth on the reins, for a willing partner who doesn't have to be appeased all the time.  I get a softness now.  This is good too, right?  I could get used to it!  With the old horse it was a true partnership, I gave in to him on some things and he gave in to me on others, especially if it was what he wanted all along.  He wanted to fly, he disdained the earth.  He wanted to jump as high and as far as possible.  He wanted to run full blast without interference.  He needed to be moving at all times, sideways if necessary.  Sometimes that huge personality would wear me out.  I'd put him back in his stall.

My current horse isn't like that.  She tries so HARD to please me.  She lives to make me happy.  I feel guilty sometimes because our relationship is more like a dictatorship than a partnership, but she likes it.  She isn't happy unless I'm praising her efforts.  Her ears come up and I swear she has a satisfied look on her face.  My old horse never looked like that.  Until the day he died fire was in his eyes.  I imagine that when this horse dies I will be just as devastated.  Until then, I'm learning to appreciate the things that my current horse has to offer, no matter how different she is from the old horse.  It's only fair.

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