Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Rambling and Belated Valentine to my OTTB

Oh, everyone else is doing it, so why not? It's obvious I can't shut up about my horse at this point.

Y'all know I love my Miles, right? I've blabbered on and on about him in numerous posts already. Still, thanks to the Literary Horse and Valentine's Day, I've got yet another reason to do so...and really, I'll take any excuse I can get, let's face it.

First, let me say, I was one of the last horse people on Earth to finally watch the movie Secretariat this weekend. I was reluctant to watch it in the theater because I knew I would be a big blubbery mess spouting big blubbery tears all over those around me. So, I chose to watch it in my home, where the only witnesses would be my husband and our furry family.

Loved the movie, like everyone else. It was a little too Disney-like, but I expected that. Diane Lane was great-she sure liked to deliver mini-speeches, but she was great. The racing shots were amazing...the best I've seen yet. It was so cool watching the Belmont, when I knew what was going to happen, and my sweet husband (who also really liked the movie) was clueless. I could only say to him...just wait. Then we went to the Internet (because we are nerds) and watched the actual race from 1973. Just awesome.

Oh, hey...Valentine to my horse, right? I brought up the movie for a reason. As much as I loved it, and it tried to capture what we love about horses...it really didn't touch the reality of it. You know what? No movie can. Every time they would zoom into Secretariat's face (as gorgeous as all the horses that played him were) to show how...I don't know...wise he was, or how much heart he had, or how he understood what someone was saying to him...I couldn't see it. The horses were pretty, but they weren't conveying anything to me...at least not what I see in my horse, or what ANY of us see in our own. The Secretariat horses can only show so much, I suppose...I'd love to see Tyra Banks tell one of them to "smile with their eyes", for example:)

Still, one of the things I love so much about Miles is I know exactly where I stand with him. If he's looking at me, I swear I know exactly where his head is these days. Part of that is being together for a year and 4 months, but it's also just Miles-he has no pretense, no coyness-he plays no games. I can't tell you how refreshing that is, when I deal with human beings at my job with all kinds of issues and conflicts, and I have to sometimes sort out what's what. None of that with My Boy.

Also, I can't lie...I love the fact that I own an ex-racehorse. It's cool to tell people (well, non-horse people, who ohhh and ahhh and don't know all the other fun stuff that comes with an ex-racer) yeah, but I also love that Miles has athleticism and endurance and speed bred into him over generations and generations. After I adopted him, I went to Equibase and paid whatever their monthly fee is to be able to see my horse, my sweet Miles, as Masarin-a racing machine who came from last place to beat 5 other horses by 8 lengths at Golden Gate Fields. Of course I would love him the same if he had never raced, or had never won a race. Still, I don't think his love of work with me is unrelated to his award as Co-Champion Miler in Chile (whatever that is). He is GAME, this horse. So game.

We had a rocky start, I've said more than once here. Looking back, it was 100% without a doubt my own fault and ignorance. Miles needed time, space, and security...and when we finally were ready to start working together, he needed leadership. I thought I was giving him that, but really, I was disappointed that he was taking so long to settle in...that he wasn't the same horse at ALL that I saw at New Vocations...that he seemed to be a stud without balls that was only interested in other horses, yet couldn't be trusted to be turned out with geldings or mares...on and on. In reality, I placed lots of totally unrealistic expectations on an OTTB I had little background information on...the fact that I lost Ebony a month previous was certainly not helping.

Because he is amazing, Miles forgave me my impatience, and once he felt secure in his turnout/stall situation, I could almost see him exhale, turn to me, and say, "OK, this place is safe. You're kind of clueless, but you mean well, and I'm willing to give you a shot. Now what should we do?"

I can't express in words how happy and grateful I am that this amazing animal continues to give me the benefit of the doubt as we navigate our lives together. I've blabbered on and on about him on this blog before (yeah, pretty sure I should have subtitled it "An Ode to My Horse". I still might;). Still, that's what Valentine's Day is for, right?

I still miss Chamie, and I wish I would have held on to her, and appreciated her for the perfect first horse she was. I miss Ebony, and I will always, always be grateful for her teachings, and for the bond we had...I get really sad when I think about where we could be now. These girls will always be my Valentines, forever.

Miles, however, has my heart now, and he will be with me as long as he and I are on this Earth.

Good thing he seems to like his owners a little melodramatic and fruity. Happy Valentine's Day (belated), my sweet sweet boy. I wouldn't trade you for all the Secretariats in the world.


  1. Great story - thanks for sharing it!

  2. Really enjoyed your story - thanks! Melodramatic and fruity is where it's at when talking horse love :)

  3. I'm going to say that you are definitely not the last person on the planet as I have not seen Secretariat yet either.
    I finally got around to buying a copy the other day, but a shift in the weather to mild temps and sunshine had me ditching the flick for some playtime with the ponies (it's still in the wrapper in front of the TV - I'll get there eventually I'm sure :o)

  4. aw so sweet. I still have not seen Secretariat either..eeks!
    I would love to know more about your past horses too!

  5. Nothing wrong with being a bit fruity. :-) Good for you for recognizing that your initial expectations were unrealistic and sticking with Miles when things were a bit rough. He is an amazing horse and you are his amazing partner.

  6. Awww, what a great story..you got me all teary ;)

  7. That's beautiful. I love how with all the patience and time you got such a great partner and friend.