Linda: mom, wife, horse-slave. I have seven horses that keep me busy learning, growing and having great adventures. If I'm going to die, which I imagine I will someday, I prefer it be on horseback, but not until I'm old(er). I write mostly about my journey with Mustang adoption on my blog, Beautiful Mustang, but also the horse-life in general. I spend a lot of time every day contemplating deep truths about the world as I shovel wheel-barrow after wheel-barrow full of manure out of the many stalls they inhabit. I've learned a lot about myself in these quiet moments, and I've developed a strong back and weak nose.
The Ones That Make You Earn It
There are so many different kinds of horses: The Been-There-Done-That, Too-Young-to-Know-Better, Ready-and-Rearing-to-Go, Scared-to-Death, or their opposite, Broke-to-Death, Poorly-Trained, and the type I have and love, The Make-You-Earn-It.
The Make-You-Earn-It type (MYEI) may have had the best and most training possible, but when it comes to you, the new owner, they act like they don’t even know how to take a bridle and bit. They raise their head, long neck stretched about 20 feet, while you struggle on tippy-toes to get a hand on the bridge of their nose. After a great deal of sweating and swearing, you manage to get a side over one ear, but they find a way out—knocking you and the bridle you walked in with on your ****. The problem here is, with MYEIs it’s not about you training them; it’s about them training YOU!
Before you got one, you were overly confident, raised and weaned on the Been-There-Done-Thats, and the Broke-to-Deaths, but come to find out, you didn’t learn squat. You were just playing at “horse” before your MYEI came to town.
Have no doubt: I’ve loved every minute of it.
Still, to be honest, there were times I questioned my wisdom in getting an MYEI—like when I was ponying his two-year-old nephew-twin across a stream and the nephew, skidding to a stop with wobbling knees, jumped rather than walked across. Cowboy went ape-wild and twisted me around in knots, tried to bolt up the rocky ravine, making me forget, in all the confusion, I COULD let go of the colt. There I was trying to get his head around and, SNAP, the left rein broke off. (Lesson: check your gear!).
Or, the time we waded through the Snake River in spring, what must have been the thousandth time, the water was pretty high and some covered-up bush tickled him just right under his belly--he scooted out of there and started doing his best to buck me off in the shallow water. (Lesson: it’s the second buck that gets you out of the seat.)
And then all the other things: trying to pass other, slow, horses on narrow, steep trails, the early temper-tantrums when I learned, sometimes all you have available is the toe of your boot, the jumping, rather than walking across of logs and creeks. (Lesson: Sit right in your saddle and be ready for the jump).
Sometimes I envied my friends and wished I had a BTDT type.
But come to find out, I kind of like him. He keeps me on my toes trying to stay one step ahead of him, and through the years and all of our adventures and misadventures, we’ve come to know and trust each other. It’s like marriage: you might have your problems, but you wouldn’t want to trade yours for someone else’s. It’s like well-worn gloves: we fit.
I almost lost Cowboy to a misdiagnosed P3 fracture a few years ago. The day he was scheduled to be put down my husband and I let him go for one last 3 ½ legged run. That horse ran fourteen rocky acres with stops and spins and pirouettes—we were amazed—and scared silly he’d die right then and there.
After we got him caught, and haltered, and safely back to the 12x12 he’d inhabit for the next six months, we canceled his appointment with death—it wasn’t Cowboy’s and my time to be broke up. He proved he had the will to beat the odds, and I was there for him every day of his confinement to keep his head together while his coffin bone healed.
I wouldn’t have asked for one. I certainly wouldn’t have gone looking for one. I wouldn’t recommend one to anyone out horse shopping, but despite all that, I love my MYEI, and wouldn’t trade him for the world.
Linda has a beautiful post at her own blog today. Jump on over there and take a gander, it's in celebration of Cowboy's life.