Monday, November 10, 2008

Some have asked whether we consider ourselves a horse, referring to the title of this blog. No, to do so would be presumptuous - they are far too deep and knowing. No, but horses are largely willing, generous and caring, to one degree or another. They are the thoughtful ones, they are the ones who make us grow and reach beyond our comfort zones - they are our mentors in so many ways.

We have been on a steeper learning curve since the arrival of Boo in our life a decade ago. Until the morning we walked into the barn to prepare to ride Dime and were distracted by the insistent pounding of hooves on a stall door, our equestrian experience had been progressing steadily if routinely for forty years. Ups and downs occurred along the way, falls, fears, triumphs large and small, tragedies and joys, all made for a rich world in which we felt comfortable, within our limitations.

Hearing the pounding this particular morning, we looked up to see an appealing blaze and zip marked chestnut face pointed toward us. Partially hidden behind a long light forelock were a pair of dark eyes, focused intently and intensely on us. As the song suggests, 'she had me from the start'. This 4 year old mare planted herself in our heart and has never let go.

So, she was just a horse. She was not one we would have picked had we been looking, as her type was outside our comfort zone. She was not a sleek athletic Thoroughbred or warmblood, but clearly a Belgian-draft crossed with quarter horse type, judging from her head. At a young age, she was made up of pieces of different horses. perhaps as many as three! Her head, while typey, was huge, stuck at the end of a nicely curved but preposterously short and thick neck on top of a pair of massive fairly upright shoulders. Thick through the heartgirth, her barrel sloped back and narrowed to join small, round, potentially powerful hindquarters. Her gaskins were slight and undeveloped. Strikingly light cannon bones attached to long-toed but sound, good sized hooves finished up the picture. A draft horse and pony combination with a lighter horse thrown in. For the finishing touch, her light-colored mane fell to the point of the shoulder and her luxuriant tail trailed in the bedding.

Love at first sight? Perhaps, but it was more a sense of inevitability and of knowing this was to become an important life experience.

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