Sunday, January 3, 2010
Hole in My Heart
Was my 13th Birthday present.
Went to Heaven on Saturday.
"Filly" as she was known, came into my life when she was 10 years old, unbroke and unweaned. She was a wild, wild thing.
However, I was chosen to ride her, i.e. break her, and I quickly fell in love as only a 12 year old horse-crazy heart can do.
My parents gave to her me as a surprise birthday present. My very first horse.
Oh, the stories I could tell about this horse. She tried to kill me, really she did. She was a bucker. And I mean a bucker. I remember the first time she bucked me off. It was an accident really. She hadn't been ridden in a while and just felt good. However, that was the beginning of the end. She realized then that she could get rid of that person on her back. The second time she bucked me off, I tore my groin muscle. But it felt like I broke my pelvis it hurt so bad when I hit the ground.
She also tossed me onto the fence once, and I broke a finger. She took me through trees, bucking of course. She would lit off the ground the minute my hinney was in the saddle. Or, she would wait until 30 minutes into a great lesson then leave the ground. At some point, I got pretty good at hitting the ground. While in the air, I would map out my landing spot, and make sure to roll into my shoulder. Eventually, I got pretty good at riding out the buck, and then she learned to rear. She would rear straight up, so that I had to cling to her neck, then as soon as her front feet hit the ground, she would take off bucking. Needless to say, I was usually a goner.
As much as she was determined to NOT be ridden, I was even more determined TO ride her. Trust me, I was a hard-headed little kid. I spent hours with this horse. I distinctly remember spending around 25 minutes just bridling her once. She was so ear-shy when we first started working her, we couldn't even take her halter off. To bridle her, one person had to tie her down to the hitching rail while I wrestled the headstall over her ears. Once, she decided that pulling back was not working, and charged forward, trampling me. But I never gave up. And I so clearly remember that one night when I bridled her by myself, without a fight. It may have taken 25 minutes, but I did it, by myself and the right way.
Oh, the things this horse taught me. Patience, quietness, consistency, kindness, along with stubbornness and bronc-riding. When I first started riding her, it would take me 20 minutes just to catch her in her stall. I remember I would go in there, while she was eating her dinner, and sit in her feeder with her hay in my lap, just so she could get used to me. I would have to sit on my hands to refrain from touching her once she got close. Eventually, she earned my trust, and no one else's.
I remember when we finally moved her to my house. I was in high school, and completely beside myself.
Things changed once she moved home. She softened, calmed down, actually began to enjoy the company of people. She would hang out in the backyard, eating the grass. I don't think my dad had to mow the lawn for several years.
I continued to hit milestones, doing things with her no one else could or would. Haircuts, bareback rides, gymkhanas.
I have so many memories of this horse. I'm talking sharp, crisp, clear memories. She may not have been the ideal first horse, but she was my first horse.
And actually, she was the perfect first horse for me.
And you know, looking back, I was the perfect person for her. I said to my mom the other day, "I survived her. No one else would have gone through with it, put up with her. I was the only one."
Pain in the Ass,
It doesn't matter what you call her (or what I call her).
She will always be my first horse.
I took these last nine photos on Saturday, while we waited for the vet. I still can't believe I will never scratch her face or rub her belly again. I'll never look out the kitchen window at my parents' house and see her red butt. I'll never have to tell my dad to stop feeding her so much again. I'll never look in this eye again.
Punkin, I know you're up there, probably chatting it up with Fancy and Precious and Wendy and Snowy. I hope your feet don't hurt anymore, and there is no pesky little girl that wants to ride you every day. I hope you get to stand under a big pine tree and not have some high school girl want to give you a haircut. I hope you get to eat all the grass you want and not have some college girl worry about how fat your getting.
And I hope you know, there's a big ole hole in my heart where you belong.