For Love of the Horse

Your First Horse

Your first horse.  There is nothing in the world like your first horse.  You’re filled with excitement and fear, and you’re SO happy, you just can’t believe you actually have a horse that is YOURS!  You can imagine maybe that your horse feels the same, especially if you have that “connection”.  Your first horse doesn’t even have to be “YOUR” horse.  Maybe it is a horse that you borrowed or leased, a horse that you take lessons on, or an old horse that you just groom and take care of for a friend but never ride.  There are many types of first horses.  I have a story about a first horse and a “first girl”.

Leo came to me, well, blank.  There are no other words for him.  It was like he wasn’t “there”.  He was a good boy, well broke, “kid broke” as horse people would say.  He had a few manner issues, but nothing that was dangerous.  He’d been ridden by a 4 year old mentally handicapped boy, then passed around a bit and ended up with me.  But he was just blank.  He didn’t really have much of a personality.  He wouldn’t look to you for attention, would barely turn his head to see you coming and then go back to what he was doing, sleeping, eating, whatever.  It was almost like he didn’t know how to like someone, or maybe that he’d only been used and never loved.

I had the opportunity to share Leo with a young girl who loved horses but didn’t have a LOT of experience, so I let her have him for the summer.  He seemed like the perfect horse for her.  I had underestimated the potential.  To make a long story short, Leo found his “first girl”.  I’ve never seen a horse change so much.  This girl LOVED Leo, and he reciprocated that love.  Leo is now “there”.  He has a different look, a sparkle, in his eye that I’ve never seen in him before.  He knows how to like people.  He’s personable.  He’s different.

And the girl, she had the love of her first horse.

The agreement with her parents was that Leo come home in the fall.  They couldn’t take on a full time horse then.  I got that, but I was very sad.  I was sad for the girl and sad for Leo.  I felt like when I went to pick him up, that I was, “stealing” a girl’s horse and “stealing” a girl away from the horse.  It isn’t that I don’t love Leo.  I love Leo.  But Leo isn’t MY HORSE.  Leo is a horse that I own and occasionally ride, a horse that I trust with young kids and scared adults.  My heart told me that Leo belonged to this girl and vice versa.  But Leo came home.  He is now with another little girl and is doing well.  Leo is a “first horse” again and well loved.

Kate and Leo

There is nothing like the love you have for your first horse.  No matter how difficult that horse was, or what an angel he was.  The truth is you both learned from each other, you both hated each other at times, but in the end, you loved each other.  In the end, that is all that matters, that you loved your horse and that you were loved just as much.