Every kid has a favorite teacher from when they were growing up. I’m no exception.
Mine just has four hooves and a tail.
This is Snappy — CSA’s Snapdragon.
It’s been a number of years now since his passing, and it’s taken me this long to figure out what to say as a tribute to him. And anything I say can’t match what I still feel for one of the most extraordinary horses I’ve had the privilege to know.
Snappy is the greatest teacher I’ve ever known.
He taught me how much fun I could truly have while riding, and more importantly, he gave me a precious gift: He taught me how to trust a horse.
I only rode him for about a year, but in that year, he transformed me from a timid and unsure rider who was intimidated and sometimes flat out scared by the horses I loved, to someone who was prepared enough to take on the challenge of a green 3-year-old mare.
He didn’t belong to me…but I was his, in the way he took care of me and gave me everything I needed. He had the unique gift of knowing the extent of his rider’s capabilities, and safely expanding their comfort zones. My first time running him in gymkhana games, he went through slowly, teaching me the patterns. But in subsequent times, he ran those games like the trained gamer he was. It terrified me, but he knew what he was doing…and he also knew what I was capable of, far before I thought I could handle it.
There’s so much more I could come up with…countless stories and anecdotes about him…all of the “firsts” he gave me…blue ribbons, trophies, end-of-year awards, bareback riding, galloping across an empty field, jumping…a connection.
He bravely withstood several injuries, health challenges, even partial blindness, adapting and carrying on with his care-taking ways. Eventual complete blindness was the only thing he couldn’t handle and would have severely compromised his quality of life, so the decision was made to put him to his rest. He was in his mid-30s, and was still giving lessons until very near the end.
He had a true heart of gold and would give it all to his rider.
Thank you, Snappy, for being the greatest teacher I’ve ever known. I owe you everything.