Friday, May 22, 2009

Why We Love Horses

This is a question that most horse people either face on themselves or have other people ask them. Some people think that's it's genetic, passed down by other horse lovers in the family. We see this a lot especially on the showing circuit or children of trainers. As for me, I essentially have no one in my family that has been into horses nearly as much as myself.

My aunt on my dads side had two horses when she was a kid. She had no idea how to take care of them, no idea about worming or tack fit or even how to ride. They basically fed their quarter horse and Morgan and had a farrier slap some shoes on. She later sold the horses when she went to college. She didn't ride that often and usually only for novelty when family members or other friends wanted to ride. She begged my grandfather for a horse at the age when most girls do and he caved in and got her two for the price of one, lucky girl! When she bought her 2yo QH she sent it out for a month of "breaking" and got it back and then rode on trails. She didn't take lessons or study the different styles of riding. She didn't hem and haw over health and nutrition as most equine enthusiasts do today. Did her horses survive? Ofcourse, they did just fine and acted like normal happy horses. Do horse people today sometimes over analize horses and horse care, I tend to think so. We like to take the fun and romanticism out of owning and working with horses. Sure being knowledgable is a great tool, and especially knowing how to ride and handle horses is a great skill that not only ensures safety but can also prolong the longevity of the horse through fitness and nutrition. But why do we love horses so much?

For me I can't remember not ever loving horses, or wanting a horse. I read every book I could get my hand on, I was pressed at the car window looking for horses at farms we passed. I loved the smell of manure and would always lovingly dode over the horses at wagon rides or other occasions in public, secrety hoping to bond with the horse in just those few short minutes.

I remember that my elementary school had a sort of career day and one of the presentations you could go to was watching a farrier trim a horse. I signed both of my sessions up for that and watched with intense scrutinity. How they handled the horse, how the horse felt in my fingers, the dynamics of the hoof and especially staring deep into their eyes. At the end of the sessions I took out a little sandwuch bag and carefully picked up the hoof trimmings to bring home as a souvenir. It was about a week later that my mom came into my room and demanded to know what the awful smell was and found my bag of rotting hoof trimmings. They were promptly thrown out and the trash taken out of the house. I knew I loved horses. Every book report in school was about horses, every free writing story I did was on horses and every daydream was based on riding through open fields galloping over and over never getting tired and everything was great.

Never did I dream that I would end up owning a throw-away horse who was abused and hated people. He was not the striking beauty that I had always imagined, and his eyes remind me of those of Jaws. Sometimes I need to remind myself to just relax in the moment and not over analize everything. Ask the questions of why I love horses so much and what draws me to them. It doesn't matter what they look like, or even how they act (although that can help) A horse is a horse is a horse. I tell non-horse people all the time that it's a disease. It takes all of my time and money and energy but I wouldn't have it any other way. I believe that everyone has a passion in life. Some people havn't found it, other have and do nothing about it and there are those of us that are living our passion. Horses are my passion. Their hard work and can privide much frustration and anxiety. But we love them way more than they annoy us.

Possum and I have grown to love each other and have a very strong bond. It wasn't until Nick kinda took over duties on Possum and I had to catch other rides that I really started to miss him. Our training together has progressed over the years and we trust and respect each other, the two things that are always desired in an equine partner. Is he an amazing show horse? No. Do we have our issues, Ofcourse. But he's mine and I'm his and we both know it.

Because my parents did not advocate for me riding and being around horses, all the knowledge and experience I have gained has been through hard work and determination. I'm not a natural rider, not by a long shot, but I'm happy with the process that it's taken to get me there. I feel like I know horses and how they think and react and can get in their heads and understand for the most part why they do the things they do. It's a great feeling. I am by no means an expert and don't even think that I want a profession in horses. I'm afraid that if you make it too much like work you lose that child like mystique. Sometimes I catch myself galloping through open fields with a huge smile on my face and in complete zen and realize that I am living my childhood dream. It's those moments that I try and catch and hold onto. I think of those when I'm down and out about guys or feeling stressed at work and just plain feeling lonely. The times when I'm cantering through the woods with my friends and I'm laughing so hard that I almost fall off, those I cherish and will take with me everywhere. So when I get caught up in training schedules, and worming and shoeing schedules and showing frenzies, I sit back and remember the girl looking out the car window hoping for a glimpse of a horse and realize that I'm lucky every day to be doing what I do and living my dream.


wolfandterriers said...

Amen! :)

Stephanie said...

I wonder about that too - whether it's genetic or not. I think it's something more magical - ya know like God went around touched some of us before we were born and said "And your a horse person and your a horse person and..." so on.

Those of us - who can't remember it any other way, who don't know any other way to feel. Those of us who never gave up horses for boys or college...the proud and the few.

SillyPony said...

This is a great post. Thank you for reassuring me why I got up earlier today than I can ever drag my ass out of bed for work!

I know that "childhood dream" feeling. Sometimes I just look at Junior and think, "wow. he's really MINE."

I too do not recall a moment when I became a horse person. The first one I think I met was a ornery unbroken overgrown mini that my uncle had. The little guy wasn't nice, but you can bet I was with him every chance I got.

My mom had horses when she was in school, but I remember the day I became aware of that. I had already become horse crazy by then.

I think the same thing we say about working in the theatre is true for horses; people don't choose the theatre, the theatre chooses them. Once you've been chosen you are stuck for life.

Have a great weekend!

Leah Fry said...

Great post. I think it might be genetic, though no one in my family other than I have it. It's either a part of you or not. I have often said that even if I had not been able to live this dream albeit late in life, horses would still be a part of my soul nonetheless.