I felt it 16 years ago when I sat on Mimi for the first time.
That moment when you absolutely know that you and this horse are right for each other.
There’s no rhyme or reason to it, no rational explanation for it or anything you can do to make it happen. It either will or it won’t. I’ve ridden a number of horses that I’ve gotten along just fine with — but there was no special connection, no sense of mutual enjoyment. I was the rider, they were the horse. Either I know what I was doing enough to get them to perform, or they were well-trained enough to do the job, no matter who was on their back.
And then there’s been a handful of horses over the years that have given me that magic ‘click.’ Mimi, for one. Looking back, a rational person would claim our partnership never should have worked. A green 3-year-old with 60 days under saddle, and an 11-year-old who had ridden nothing but experienced lesson horses.
What happened instead was a first-ride experience that was nothing short of angels trumpeting a ‘Hallelujah’ chorus. Five minutes in the saddle, and we were cantering around an outdoor arena filled with dozens of other ponies and riders, weaving around those traveling slower than us. It was the first time I had ever been filled with such confidence on a horse.
|1998-ish…this looks like my junior high-era; an afternoon
bumming around the barnyard after school.
16 years later, I still remember the feeling of that ride.
The feeling of that ride was what got me through the couple of years of young-horse-hell that followed the month-long honeymoon of First Pony ownership. That ride had showed us what we were capable of achieving.
|2002 POA World Show, Spanish Fork, UT
Our last show; we got the last points needed
for her Supreme Champion Award.
I suppose I’m beyond spoiled, having gotten so lucky with my first horse. I don’t know how many people get their once-in-a-lifetime heart horse right from the start, but I did. And it’s set an extremely high bar for those that will follow.
But I’ve experienced that same click with several other horses over the years, so I know it is possible to achieve that same kind of relationship and level of connection. And my heart will always have room for more horses.
|2006 Wickenburg Land of the Sun ride;
our 2nd LD ride.
But no one will ever take the place of my first, special Heart Horse.
This month marks 16 years together for me and Mimi. It’s been a whirlwind of highs and lows, and I wouldn’t trade our experiences together for anything. I’m proud of everything she has taught me — and still keeps teaching me.
So thank you, Mimi, for all of these years, and God willing, many more.