I had to chuckle a little when I read the Black Stallion Syndrome article.
I got my first pony when I was 11 and read all the Black Stallion books and was in my little girl fantasy world for most of that pony ownership pretending I was aboard The Black!
Then when I was older, I took lessons at a local dressage barn and saw all the BIG FANCY HORSES and just knew that is what I had to have!
I leased two of these BIG FANCY HORSES (looking back neither were compatible for me) and was upset when both leases ended because I had convinced myself I would eventually buy them.
So the search began for MY BIG FLASHY HORSE
– in the mean time a girl at the barn asked me if I would come ride her horse that was young and needed miles.
I said sure and remembered how disappointed I was when I saw she was a SMALL, PLAIN HORSE.
But I loved to ride and ended up riding her for two years – all the while going on one wild goose chase after another for BIG FLASHY HORSES for sale that turned into nightmares – does anyone tell the truth?
And one of the most important things I’ve learned in life – if the owner won’t get on – don’t you get on!!!
Anyway SMALL PLA1IN HORSE and I were having a blast doing things I had never got to do before – camping, going to the mountains; trail riding everywhere – obstacle trail rides, group trail rides, and out alone for hours.
Then one day SMALL PLAIN HORSE was to be sold as a lesson horse to a local barn.
I was horrified by the idea of all these random, novice people yanking on her sensitive mouth and messing up her gaits (she is a gaited horse)
…..so I intervened and bought her.
I told everyone that she was MY IN BETWEEN HORSE until I found my FLASHY HORSE. As the trail rides and time rolled by, I would tell my horse friends who owned BIG FLASHY HORSES about being envious of them, and they would tell me about the latest trail ride gone bad and all the behavior issues they were having.
I would think to myself, “Cinnamon and I go out on adventures alone all the time and never have issues, and Cinnamon doesn’t behave like that and Cinnamon is an easy keeper and Cinnamon is gaited pretty nice now after we have worked at it and I know what Cinnamon is thinking with the slightest twitch of an ear or tensed muscles or just the look on her face.”
What – You can’t get on your 16 hand horse or dismount on the
trail or get around and under trees?
I don’t need a mounting block, and we easily navigate even knee knocker trails, and the few times I did take a fall off her the ground wasn’t that far away….what is wrong with small again???
You see..;….somewhere along the road…..the SMALL PLAIN HORSE had become my perfect match and checked all my boxes!!
And you know what?
Somewhere along the road, she must have changed her appearance as well because I don’t see SMALL AND PLAIN anymore.
When I look at my horse I see A SHINY, BEAUTIFUL CHESTNUT WITH A STAR AND A SNIP AND FLOWING MANE AND TAIL WITH SASS who has become my version of a dream horse.
Now that I truly understand what that means: a horse that bonded with me, and we are comfortable doing just about anything together -I am her whole world, and so I try really hard to make it a great one, and she has become one of the best parts of mine.
She has carried me both on amazing trail rides and also carried me through a lot of life’s rough patches. She knows just how to heal my soul and has the power to make me realize the true joy in life. She can also be a time machine and transport me back to a starry eyed kid again as nothing makes me giggle like a child like a canter across a field on a sunny day – as an old friend of mine used to say: that much fun should be illegal; I would never sell my horse first and foremost because she is my family and means the world to me.
But I would be afraid that others would see A SMALL AND PLAIN and now old horse.
Not the most beautiful little mare who has carried me safe and sound for almost two decades of rides and how sweet and :awesome she is.
She has given me the best years of her life, and it is my honor to be her person in the years where she really needs someone who knows who she is and will give her the care she deserves.
I am well aware of the monetary value the world would place on my grade, aging mare, but go ahead and offer me waaaaay more and the answer would be NOWAY – she is not for sale!!!!
I could never replace her – so an irreplaceable horse is priceless.
That’s how a small plain horse became flashy and beautiful and changed my mind on what a dream horse is.
That is only one of the many important lessons she has taught me and continues to teach me…..she has made me a much better person.
Why my non horse friends make comments as to how much I spend on her care I just smile because: I could never explain to them that it is I who am indebted to my horse for she has given me way more than I could give her.
The moonlit rides we have taken, the fun and adventurous rides, the rides when I left work sad about something and she and I worked it out alone on the trail…..
the hours spent grooming or hand grazing – being still and peaceful.
I still marvel at how what I had in mind was completely wrong for me and everything I wanted was wrapped in a much different looking package.
The things you can learn from animals if you will only listen!
THANK YOU so much to Tammy for sharing her story with HEART of Phoenix, and not only for that and for caring for her lovely girl so well. . .but for deciding now that her grand gal is retiring, to Adopt (She adopted Carly)
Heart of Phoenix is on a Mission, with the RIGHT HORSE Initiative, to improve the lives of horses in transition + massively increase horse adoption in the United States. We are Good People for Good Horses. As partners of the #RIGHTHORSE, we want to spread the word about partnership and equine adoption.