Saturday, May 29, 2010
A History in Horses
I've been riding since I was 7. I started off at a wonderful hunter barn, taking lessons and leasing horses, where I learned to jump small fences and show in the occassional schooling show. Everyone should start with such a solid foundation. I finally convinced my parents to buy me a horse when I was 14. She was a plain bay appendix Quarter Horse mare, small, could jump to the moon and was everything I needed. Her name was Champagne on Ice (I know, I know...we called her Chami). She carried me through high school, equestrian team, 4-H, hunter paces, hunter shows and even a parade. She was a perfect first horse, and the kind of jewel I couldn't appreciate until later, although I certainly did love her very much, and still do.
I lost myself somewhere in my early 20's and sold her for one dollar to the people that owned the boarding barn she lived at...I thought she would be much happier as a little girl's love, and I was right, at the time. My own issues did not bode well for horse ownership. Looking back, I'm still not sure what happened to me.
In my late 20's I got my stuff together (well, it's a work in progress), and of course I again became obsessed with horses and riding and wanted my mare back. She was in her 20's by then and owned sure enough by a girl who loved her, just as it should be. I thus began my search to buy my first horse as an adult.
I found Ebony 3 years ago, very soon after starting dressage lessons. She was 18 years old, black, and the definition of a opinionated mare. I loved her, and no matter her mood swings, she was never spooky or dangerous (though she had definite opinions about things, no doubt, and I'll admit in the beginning she scared me sometimes). I actually acquired her via a "Lifetime Lease" from a rescue organization which I signed before even riding her...in fact, she had not been ridden for over a year when I stepped into the picture. I kept her at an amazing dressage barn for the first 3 months, and thank goodness got a solid foundation with which to work with her. I owned and loved Eb for almost 2 years, and the day I got a call from the barn that she was injured was one of the worst of my life. It was a freak thing, but that didn’t change the fact that her leg was shattered. I watched her as they humanely euthanized her, and it was horrible and beautiful. She had amazing grace, and was a force to be reckoned with right to the end.
About a month later, I found Miles. It doesn't seem right or fair that I found my "heart horse" so soon after Ebony's death and the guilt still gets me from time to time. I cannot deny however, that after a very rocky first month together, Miles has become a true part of me in a way that no horse has before. It's hard to explain...it's more than the nickers of recognition and the sweet horse breaths he gives me. He is my partner in every sense that a horse can be. My other half in this life, as animals go (my lovely husband is ridiculous in his support and I think would understand this sentiment). Miles is my link to my better self, the mystical and serene. I know, barf. Still. He’s amazing. I've been privilaged enough to own and ride some great horses in my life, so I don't say these things lightly. You can see Chami with my 15 year old self (I swear I don't bleach my hair any longer) on the left and Ebony on the right. I still miss my girls.