I cannot believe that it’s October! This year has flown by! It’s been some time since I’ve said hello, and all of this was not twiddling thumbs. In the interim I have been completing a Master’s in Public Health-Nutrition. The course work has kept me busy, and I am in a full time internship-though I may be dialing back the physical in place hours, now that the research paper and project have to be delivered. I was also working “part time” (that’s four days a week, maybe five) for the barn while our most awesome barn manager was recovering from surgery.
In ways Tricia has made leaps and bounds. Her balance is fantastic, and that has given her a power that (I think) surprises her. She is brilliant, and obviously thinks about the work when we are not riding together. Everything is coalescing from this amorphous i-have-no-idea-what-i’m-doing into beautiful movement and a fluidity I never thought I would see with this mare. My husband was slightly offended when I said this, frowning he admonished me with, “She’s the best horse in the world, right? Why didn’t you think she could do it?” I’m glad he was offended for her. I should have been offended for her. She is the best horse in the world for me. I kind of made her that way-all her inabilities are my own. So between my husband and my trainer, who during our lesson yesterday, told me to stop “helping” her with somethings, and get out of her way so she could do them, I realized that my baby is in a place where she is moving beyond me being the teacher, and us being partners.
And that’s kind of amazing. Like super amazing.
I bred Patty to the best stallion I could that matched my requirements 18 years ago: World class blood lines and registration-able get. I wanted something that could go to Nationals and Worlds in the ApHC. I was ready for the “big time”. (snort!) But, there was this inexplicable quality to Patty that I wanted to preserve, and I know that it runs down the Hayes Roman Cloud line. Patty had kindness in spades, despite being abused and starved. And she had an innate bravery and grit that most horses do not exude. She was very self-possessed and confident in herself. In the twenty-plus years she was with me, she only acted out emotionally once, and that was when we showed her at a facility that she had been sold at twice. When she came home with us that weekend, she never behaved that way again. We were hers, and she was ours-end of story. While nature means much, I watched Patty give this kindness to Tricia and to Little Man (the miniature companion horse that we got to hang out with Patty when Tricia was traveling, and vice versa.) As I said before, Patty was starved before she was rescued by a wonderful lady who entrusted her to our family. She taught Tricia and Little Man to share hay, which they both do to this day. No one starves in their field and herd. Little Man has taught his two miniature companions (yes, there are mini comps for the mini comp. He couldn’t be alone after Patty passed away.) the same respect for each other, their humans, and their farm. When I bred Tricia, I did not breed for a dancing horse. I didn’t even breed for a “western pleasure” or “HUS” horse. I bred for kindness and bravery and the ability to get my spots registered.
In the run of stops and starts in her career, either from my life being crazy, or her being a Murphy’s Law with stuff like Lyme Disease, I never thought I would have the horse that does as she does now. I have always known that she has the most magnificent personality, and the most wonderful heart, and that she will push through anything. I never thought she’d have an almost canter pirouette, half pass like a pro, or have solid mediums that are working towards extension. Tricia is now engaged in her work. She likes it. She amazes herself with what she can do, and she loves it. We are a team, and she is learning amazing stuff about herself. She is feeling when she is set up do things right, and moves on it when asked. There is no tedious nagging, she is engaged and most importantly, all that kindness and bravery is happy!
Early in Tricia’s career I took her to a reining trainer, who said she would never and that I would be better off doing WP or trail. Ha! I would love to see him now. There was also a woman I worked for that suggested I use her as surrogate mare to get some warmblood that could “do real dressage.” And while I should be used to the negativity, seeing as I rode spots before spots were cool…back when spots were despised…It makes me wonder, how many awesome, wonderful horses in the world are being over looked or under utilized because some numb-nut somewhere made their owners feel like the pony couldn’t, wouldn’t or should never?
I’ve always known she is the best horse in the world. She is the daughter of my heart, created to carry on my heart’s legacy. It is both inspiring and humbling to watch her excel in a way that makes her happy as she slips from being my “baby” into being my partner.