Stolen from jumping-percheron.
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.
For me, this was an old bay Quarter horse named Tank. He had one eye, and had foundered several times by the time he came to our lesson barn. This guy was the first horse I fell for. He never spooked nor did he ever run off. He was way to big for my eighth grade self and I wish I would have known what I know now when I rode him.
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 was a black Quarter Horse mare named Annie. She taught me everything while I experimented and learned. She taught me almost all that I know about caring for horses. If I didn't cool her out long enough the old girl wouldn't eat. I soon learned all there is to know about cooling horses out. She wouldn't pick up her feet unless you did it just right with some gumption. She made you work for everything she gave you but was a great friend and teacher.
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…
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…
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…
Oh dearest pride matches all of these at various points in our time together. When I first met him, he challenged me on everything. He wanted to know I was capable of being the boss. He needed someone to call all his own. I became that girl and boy was I his boss. Then he became the horse I was connected with. I could pull onto the street and as soon as he saw my car, he would wander on up to the gate and wait for me. No exaggeration. That boy would come running if I whispered his name. Towards the end, he was my everything. I would have put a baby on his back and still know everything would be fine. We were devoted to each other. He was amazing.