Though I had taken riding lessons since I was young and had dreamt of having my own horse (and schemed about keeping it in our backyard playhouse) since I was 7, I was not a seasoned horsewoman. I had been leasing Misha, my barn’s rock solid beginner’s horse, and loving it. She was steady, dependable, gentle, kind, and patient – the kind of horse a relative beginner should have!
And then I met Sport, a 5 year old, gorgeous, flashy grey Arab who had recently moved to our barn because only my instructor could handle him. Most people were afraid of him, so he was afraid of most people. AND, I chose to overlook all that and fall in love with him and the idea of finally having my own horse! I was an adult now, and I could make my own decisions! I wanted him to be my first dressage horse.
Logic says to get a vet check to be sure the animal is healthy and sound. After I attempted to hold Sport still for the vet, and we bounced from stall to aisle to arena with his eyes popping and his legs jumping, the vet pretty directly cautioned me against buying him. If I couldn’t even handle him on the ground and since she couldn’t even examine him thoroughly and since he was a bit small for me and clearly not the ideal temperament for dressage, then maybe he wasn’t the horse for me.
Somehow that did not deter me; my heart was running the show, not logic. My husband asked if we could afford to have a horse. My “logic” was, “I’ve checked our budget and we shouldn’t be getting by now, and we are… so, why not?” To this day he doesn’t know why he didn’t argue with me, but he didn’t. So, I had my first horse! He was beautiful, he was terrified, he was relatively untrained, I was terrified, and our journey of learning together began.
Early on my instructor, Mel, told me “One of you better find some confidence or he’s going to kill you!” Now, that was a powerful motivator! I dug deep to find courage and confidence to ride and train this horse who was afraid of his own shadow and bolted and jumped sideways often and without warning! Boy, did I develop good balance and a solid seat! I never fell off of him, and over the years my riding improved and Sport transformed into a dependable lesson horse who carried our young students patiently and gently.
Had I let logic get in my way at any stage along the way, I would have missed out on the beautiful experience I had with my first horse, my childhood dream, and the confidence and skills that made me a better, more patient and compassionate rider, trainer, instructor, and person. Sport taught me about patience and unconditional love as well as how to develop confidence where it didn’t seem possible. So, why not? What a gift!
This week I went to bid farewell to Sport who is now 31 and getting ready to cross the rainbow bridge. Our good-bye brought so many wonderful memories from this chapter of my life flooding back to me. Thank you, Sport. You have brightened my life in a way a logical decision never would have!
**Disclaimer - I am not encouraging anyone to make financially irresponsible decisions! Only you know what you can and should do with your money.