"this is not the greatest song in the world;
this is just a tribute"
I have a horse. E-I-E-I-O, right?
I've actually been lucky enough to own three horses in my life, and I loved each. But there's a term--heart horse--that's used among horsepeople to refer to the horse that truly captures part of your heart and soul. A rider tends to always have a connection with their mount, but with your heart horse, it's different. I can't really explain it, but, if you've experienced it, you know.
My heart horse is Randy.
In 2004, I was looking for a new horse, having outgrown my faithful old Appaloosa gelding. My family's budget wasn't high, but, then again, I wasn't looking for some fancy competition horse. I had just gotten into eventing, competing in a couple of Beginner Novice horse trials, and while it was great fun, I wasn't then, and still am not, the bravest rider on the block.
I didn't have aspirations of competing in the upper levels.
When my trainer at the time brought Randy out for me to try, I didn't like him. I wanted a flashy horse with lots of chrome... my first pony had been a plain bay mare and then, after my eye-catching App, I wasn't prepared for another "boring" bay horse. Plus, for the record, he wasn't in the best shape at the time. Stress warts all over his ears, a little ribby, blanket rubs on his massive shoulders, scraggly mane, and a groom had to bridle him for me (by taking the bridle apart) because he wouldn't let you get near his warty ears.
Not exactly what you go out looking for as a buyer.
But my trainer was insistent, so I was "forced" into riding him for about month. I proceeded to fall in love.
The rest is history, kind of. My wonderful, supportive, best-in-the-world parents bought him for me for my 16th birthday. And over the next seven years, we grew together and achieved things I never imagined I would do.
This horse is everything good. He has saved my ass on too many occasions to mention. He has taught me how to be a better rider and better person. He's listened to my dreams, my fears, and god knows he's seen me cry.
He is brave, kind, trusting, and forgiving. No matter how many mistakes I make, whether on his back or on the ground (sorry, buddy, that you had to teach me how to give an IV shot!), he never loses faith in me.
I know every inch of him, every hair. You may think I'm exaggerating, but I'm not. I can pick out his whinny, his hoofbeats. Sitting on his back feels like home.
Randy has taken me further as a rider than I imagined going, and he continues to do so. He's 15 now, and I don't know how many more "high octane" years we have left, but I'm going to enjoy every moment.
You're the best, Randy-man. And even if we don't get where we're aiming, we're going to have a ball trying, just like we always have. <3