Tell me if there is an air of familiarity in what I’m about to say: When I was a little girl, I desperately wanted a horse.
Much to my disappointment, my parents did not submit to my oft-vocalized childhood dream, because they are smart. They had the foresight to understand that I was too young and possessed too abbreviated an attention span for the responsibility of equine ownership.
Now, as an adult, I believe in “horsepower”. Owning horses has been the most blissful learning experience of my life.
My first horse was a flighty Morgan gelding that I called “Tram”. I would spend hours trying to catch him before he would stop, nostrils flaring with deep, rapid breath, and allow me to approach, slowly extend my arm, and touch his powerful shoulder solidly with the palm of my hand. Tram and I spent hours in the long Alaskan summer sun as I methodically groomed him with curry comb and brush. Initially, he was fearful of this care, but by mid-summer, Tram’s eyes would lull and he would doze as I traced the lines of his musculature with the brushes. I learned the simple serenity of activity that requires no thought. Tram taught me patience, peace, and trust.
My current horse, Lola, a solid black Shire-cross mare, stands at nearly 17 hands and weighs over 1300 lbs. She is massive and reminiscent of a medieval knight’s horse. When she runs, her hoof beats cause the very ground to quake. Lola has allowed me to crawl underneath her belly, she has lifted her hooves on command for a four year old girl, and walked with such delicacy that a two year old child could balance on her bare back. Lola wants nothing more than to please; she teaches me benevolence and grace.
Training horses has been a consistently challenging and rewarding process. Each horse is as different as every person; similarly, one must learn to handle each horse on an individual basis though certain constants exist: mutual respect and effective communication. My partner in the majority of my equine endeavors is my friend, Dorothy. Together we have developed a brilliant working relationship and friendship from which everyone benefits; human and equine alike.
Horses teach me reverence.
I am thankful each day that I have the opportunity to interact with my horse and the friends that I have developed through horsemanship. I am thankful that I am letting the dream I had as a little girl run wild, so to speak, and that my family shows interest in my accomplishments. And I am thankful that I know the sensation of a four-beat gallop pounding the trail, my eyes watering from speed, the sound of the wind rushing my ears, the taut leather of the rein, the scent of the Alaskan summer permeating every facet of my being, and the exhilaration and rush of each breath I take as I know that I’m truly living the way I imagined I would.
I believe in horsepower.