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All my life I have loved horses, but not at all like a I do now. The word love is thrown around loosely in every day life; I love that sweater or I love that picture. In the earlier stages of my life, I guess, it would be more fitting to say I always liked horses. Anyways, after I met my friend Chris that all changed.
Chris moved to my area awhile ago, but we met when she started coming to my church. She really opened my eyes to the meaning of LOVING horses. We started taking lessons together, reading horse magazines and books, and going to groom horses every free Saturday we could. We were truly HORSE CRAZY friends. Then I met my first love, Jake.
He was a pony, just barely though. He was stocky and stubborn (that's probably why we got along so well). He was an older horse I won't lie, but sometimes he didn't act like it. His teeth were the only thing that showed his true age. My first real jump on him was like I was flying, and though his trot was rough, his canter was smooth as silk. After we had a run, good or bad, he would have his peppermint. Some days he could be stubborn, as in, "Sorry, my only speed is walk," while other days we were a true team. Either way I still loved him. I loved him so much because I trusted him; he would never bite or kick at me, he just accepted me and my greenness, and helped me develop into a more experienced rider.
Chris always chose Sarge, a cute, spoiled pony. I remember when she banded his hair for the first time, he just nodded his head like, "Yeah, I'm a show pony, I'll accept autographs later."
Me, I always chose Jake. I couldn't choose another. People said you're ready for a faster horse, but I just couldn't stop seeing Jake. He was my pony. Every time I rode him I would speak to him, "Good boy, that's it," "OK, a little faster now," or "Ready to canter?" Some people may think, well, that's just weird, why would to talk to a horse? Because that only made our bond stronger, even though he never said a word to me.
One day after we finished our lesson, I took him to the cross ties to untack him. Well, at most English riding schools, you have to admit most people there can be snobs, and there was. She stalked in while I was grooming my boy and casted a disdainful look at him. Then she and her mother peered in at her boarded horse. Chris and I were talking when we heard, "Gross! Honey, he is peeing in his hay!" the mom was shrieking. The girl sighed, clearly frustrated and folded her arms and leaned against the stall. After a moment she walked to her trunk of things, but Jake was in the way. Pushing him aside as he tried to smell her, she stormed on to her trunk. On the way back she wasn't so lucky, Jake was ready, as she past he lifted up is muzzle, and down it came on the girl's shoulder. Angry now, she shoved him aside and then received another smacking, "Stupid horse" she hissed as she grabbed her mother and left. Good thing too! I couldn't conceal my laughter and smiling face anymore. He was such a silly boy!
Leaving the stable was the hardest part of it all, leaving the smell of horses and leaving the sight of their intelligent faces as they gazed out of their stalls. But after every ride I would untack Jake, brush him, give him his peppermint, grab his halter, and turn him loose. Some of the other horses could smell the peppermint on his breath and would crowd around him making it hard to say goodbye.
All to say, Jake wasn't just any old school horse; he was my partner, my companion, and my friend. I hope you all love your horses because of who they are and not just for the few ribbons they can give. In return, they will love you back for it.