Sunday, April 01, 2012

Horse Birthdays and reflecting back to the beginning

All horses get a raw deal by having their birthdays bumped to January first. Luckily, they don't really know or care that they are forced to share their special day with many thousands of fake "siblings," but I know when my horse's real birthdays are.

Lena's is March 8th and Calabar's is tomorrow. Yep. My horse was born on April Fool's day. He really should know how appropriate that actually is--oh wait, maybe he does. (Sorry, Lena, I'm way late on your birthday but you did get a Facebook post on the real day so I didn't totally neglect your beautiful spotty self.)

Lena (and the perfect spot) and Steve, 2006
I thought I would celebrate their birthdays with some photos of our journey from Spotty Horse to OTTB fanatic. I do love both my horses--Lena, from the tip of her curly ears to the perfect spot that circles her tail; Bar from his soft brown nose to the end of his long, dark tail. They have distinct personalities, react in different ways to the same situation, but they delight me in their differences and in what each has to teach me.

Here are my thoughts from Horse Year One, after Lena Rey nearly died and we learned to barrel race.

Steve and Lena turnin' for home
It took us a little while to find our next horse, but we did. It has changed things in many, many ways and led me to what may well be the next chapter of my life.

Hubba hubba
And doesn't Calabar look better now? He's so lovely.

He is so handsome you can just ignore me.
But back to the history, back to when I let other people ride Calabar, before Steve's accident.

Lena, Steve, Katie and Calabar--June, 2008
There have been lots of training ideas and methods along the way, and in going back it seems I've forgotten some of the things I've learned. Like how much we both liked early morning workouts instead--back before I had to dress up for work. Drat.

Bouncy Thoroughbred in the round pen
Along the way have been trail rides and lessons and a few accidents--courtesy of both horses, I might add. Remember, Lena broke my arm and a rib or two before my last fall off Calabar broke my butt (as Dave pointed more eloquently in the comments). 

But since it took me 43 years to actually break any bones and risk-taking was supremely limited in my life (at least physical risk-taking) until I got horses, I'm going to take the average here and figure it's come out pretty well for all of us so far. Besides, I love every minute of it--even the frustrating parts--and there is more on the horizon for us, too.

Trail ride with ANOTHER OTTB! And we all survived! It was awesome.
Trail rides. Cow work. A little dressage training. You name it, both horses are up for it. Because in their world, boredom is a whole lot worse than overcoming something new. Lena would probably even love the track, since she's never had that much room to run her whole life. Maybe as much as Calabar liked his introduction to cows. 

Howz your grass? Mine is tasty.
We will likely never get to try Lena on the track, but Calabar has another chance with cows coming up this month. He did so great last time--going into the herd with me and fending cows off through the fence--that maybe we'll let him try pushing them on his own this time.

Watching for evil cows.
What started as simple fun with a talented, athletic spotty cow horse has--thanks to an opinionated OTTB--morphed into relationships with horses that have taught me to be a better horsewoman  and a better person. Tonight, with the horrible rain pounding on the roof of the indoor arena, I was able to get my horse's attention and have a good ride. Tomorrow could be even better, or it could offer new lessons.

Whatever it offers, whatever appears through the next door we open, I hope that the birthdays this year are followed by many, many more for both horses. 

Happy birthday to both my ponies--you give me gifts every day so there will be something special tomorrow, I promise.


Anonymous said...

Happy birthday to them both! I would love to find some cows around her for Pie to work.

lmel said...

Happy Birthday to both your horses. Yes, it's true--each day with them is a gift. Great posting!

Grey Horse Matters said...

Happy Birthday to your two lovely equines. We're so lucky to have them in our lives.