Friday, July 30, 2010

The Love of a Good Horse

Since I was a little girl I have had a love of horses. Living in California, in the city, there was not much opportunity to be around them. Despite the fact that I had ridden only a few times in my life I believed that I was an excellent horse rider. Somehow in my mind the fact that I loved them so much and wanted to ride so badly equated to me being good at it. On my twenty-first birthday my wonderful husband bought me my first horse and changed our lives forever. I quickly learned just how much I didn't know about these wonderful animals. We spent the next few years learning alot about how to care for and ride our horses. They became a great passion for both of us.

Over the years we have been blessed to know some wonderful horses. Three of which stand out in my mind and my heart. That first horse that David bought me was my first love, she took such good care of me while I was learning to ride. She was patient, and loving, and taught me what it was like to have a horse you trust and that trusts you in return. The bond that builds between you and your horse cannot be compared to any other. Her name was "Pretty", she was a beautiful sorrell saddle mare. When we moved on to quarter horses and sold her I was heartbroken, and I still regret selling her. I soon learned that replacing a horse you have such a relationship with is not easy, I knew that if I ever found that again I would hold on to it no matter what.

My next great love was a big red roan quarter horse mare named Lucy. We bought her and her mother, Lady, from the same gentleman a few months apart. David bonded with Lady the same way I bonded with Lucy. They were like daylight and dark. Lady, a short stocky bulldog type horse, just like a foundation quarter horse should look. We rode alot of miles on those two, and they gave us some beautiful babies to remember them by. Lucy died in 2008, leaving a three month old filly we named Ginger orphaned. After Lucy died, Lady was our last link to those great times we had when we were riding and enjoying our horses so much. As each child came along it became increasingly difficult to take time to ride. Although we loved our horses we just didn't have the time to spend with them like we used to. We had sold all of our other riding horses and until recently every horse we owned was a son or daughter of either Lucy or Lady. Lady was the Matriarch of the heard. She was kind of the family mascot. We had to stop riding her years ago because she was becoming increasingly lame with each passing season. The past two years were very difficult for her, she was in alot of pain most days, walking was hard for her. She passed away Tuesday, July 27. She was 22 years old. She has been a part of our family for 11 years.

Here she is with one of her babies. She was the BEST mommy we ever had.

So now it's time to move on to the next generation. We kept Ladies last baby, a little sorrell filly we named Sugar. She is now almost three years old and we will be riding her soon. David has been riding Missy, a palomino mare from Lucy for a little while now. She is so much like her momma, I think she may find her way into my heart too, but you can never predict these things. We also have the little filly that was left orphaned when Lucy died so unexpectedly. Ginger is a little spit fire. She looks completely opposite of her sister and her mom. She is a dainty little thing, put together beautifully. Both her and Sugar are very curious and love to be with us when we are outside. They come running anytime we call them or go out in the pasture for anything...even when you don't want them there. All three of them show signs of being good horses, they seem to want to please you whatever you ask them to do. That is half the battle. As long as we communicate to them clearly what they are expected to do and build their trust, I believe they will be great, trustworthy horses. The kids have been learning to ride recently. They are all just about old enough that we can begin our trail riding again and start to really enjoy our horses as a family. I can't wait to build new memories with our kids in tow. But the three horses that we have loved and lost will be forever in my heart. Making me appreciate every moment with whoever moves into it next.