What we learn from our horses. Show your teacher some love!

As I packed copious amounts of my stuff from my college apartment for the last time, I reminisced for a while when I found the album of horse pictures I toted with me to school. I had photographs from my very first riding lesson, on the beautiful and only palomino I have ever ridden, Goldie. Her name was most appropriate, don’t you think? Fraggle Rock, the first lesson horse I ever leased, a big Draft cross, had the kindest brown eyes. He was a saint-of-a-horse that I loved on during my glasses and braces stage, so attractive.

Fledermaus, a Swedish Warmblood schoolmaster, taught me how to ride a sensitive horse. He loved to remind me how fast and clean he was in his grand prix days. I listened to them, absorbed what they could teach me. Hitting the ground every once in a while was a good wake-up call as well! I floated around the dressage, eventing and hunter/jumper worlds.

Moving barns was a big push to stick with hunters because I finally had the resources to do so. Backstage Pass, a beautiful bright chestnut was a hunter horse in every sense. I learned to sit, wait and relax through a course. He taught me to refine and tone down the jumper tendencies I got from riding Fledermaus. If I asked nicely, he happily obliged. Snapshot, a sweet pony disguised as a horse, taught me to sit up. Sit up, you go over the fence, lean forward, you do not. It was pretty simple in his book.

Bear Necessities I have saved for last. He truly has a piece of my heart and frequently reminds me to relax and listen to what he has to say. My “hony” is always willing to give more and more until both of us gets it right. He keeps me sane, always listens to my trials and tribulations, and has endless patience for my shenanigans. He is my show buddy, my friend and confidant. God only knows where I would be without my little man. Those eyes still make me melt and give in to his begging for a second treat. He tells me to not take life so seriously, I swear I see him smiling sometimes. Our partnership has taught me the most.

There is a reason I brought this album with me through all my years of school. Whenever I got frustrated, felt down or like I was losing my confidence, I would look through the pictures to see what I have accomplished. At this crossroad in my life, graduating college, looking for a “big girl job,” I could go anywhere, do anything. Armed with my school education and horse education, I will make it on my own.

Katie