When I broke my arm after falling off a horse I realized something: a horse could hurt me. That terrified me. It terrified me to the point where I didn't enjoy riding anymore because I feared getting hurt again.
I know it sounds naive, but when I rode at the age of five and all the years before I was fearless. But hitting that ground made me realize the ground is hard and it hurts!!! I would ride some, but I was scared to hit the ground again (sorry, but pain is not fun and neither was my cast), but I didn't really start back to riding until I got you.
When I first got you I remembered how scared I was. Let's face it, you were a BIG HORSE! I had every right to be intimidated by your large buckskin body. You were extremely strong too, I remember not ever being able to actually tie you to the hitching post because we liked that hitching post and wanted to keep it in the ground.
I remember me climbing up the side of the horse trailer so I could jump into the saddle on your back. I remember my triumph the first time that I got on you from the ground and man was a reach!!
I remember how stubborn you were and always tried to take control. Though it took a lot of time, you taught me to be the boss in the saddle and to be in charge of my horse. Now, I ride with confidence on any horse I get on without fear of the ground, you taught me that.
You taught me not to live in fear of hitting the ground when coming off a horse. Believe me when I tell you I have hit the ground A LOT!!! But every time I get back up and I get back on, no matter how much pain I am in because I will not let that horse get away with it.
You got me into showing horses and being competitive, to work hard and practice often because we wanted to win. You taught me how to ride in an English saddle, better yet, I reminded you how to do English. I remember us learning (relearning for you) together.
We were the first English horse and rider pair at the fair in quite a long time and I hold that memory near and dear to my heart. What I don't hold near and dear to my heart is the crazy fast wardrobe changes I had to do between my showmanship and English classes.
Well Annie, it has been a long time since I have last seen you but just know that I think of you often. I think of you every time I see your grandson Ruger in the winter. His buckskin hair coat dapples just like yours did. I think of you when I ride Ruger, his personality is so similar to yours, laid back, but can be stubborn if he wants to.
His mane is just like yours, it can't make up its mind on which side of his neck it wants to fall, it has blonde in it too, just like yours.
I think of you every time I look at your daughter Dolly, she is built so much like you. I see a lot of you in both of them.
I remember the day we got the call about you, the last day I would see you walking around me. The day we put you down was a really hard day for me, I don't think I have ever cried that much before. But I'm glad to know that you are buried on our property where we rode and you grazed so often.
I probably never told you this enough, but thank you. Thank you for being the horse that gave me back my confidence. Thank you for being the horse that drove me crazy, but taught me patience when working with animals. Thank you for taking this scared little girl and making her comfortable in the saddle again.
Thank you for giving me the honor of riding you for so many years again. I'm honored to ride your relatives, children and grandchildren now and in the future.
You changed my life and I'm forever grateful to you and I miss your big old long buckskin butt.
Until I See You Again,