On April 26th, my horse Timmy will be 12 years old. I have now owned him for half of his life!! That realization hit me like a brick wall the other day. It is what parents must feel when one minute their children are in kindergarten and then they blink, and it’s time for senior prom. These past years have gone by so fast and have been life-changing for me. Life before Timmy is just a blur.
I bought Timmy from a man with a lovely Irish brogue and a twinkle in his eye. Denis was selling Timmy because he no longer had the time that was needed to own and train a young horse. Denis gave Timmy a fantastic start. He had 3 lovely gaits, impeccable ground manners and the best temperament a rider could ask for.
I fell in love the day I saw him and couldn’t believe my good fortune the day I trailered him home. He was a big, 6 year old WB/TB cross and he was green. I didn’t care. I was just so excited about owning my first horse at the age of 54! The 12 year old girl inside of me was jumping up and down over my good fortune. In hindsight, I wonder if Denis had a bit of leprechaun in him, because there was magic happening that hot August night when Timmy became mine.
Suddenly, I was thrust into the world of HORSE! Owning was a huge responsibility and there were decisions to make that I never saw coming. What should I feed him? Did he need supplements? How often would he need shoes? What equipment did he have to have? Did he need blankets? What size? How many? Vaccinations? Wellness program? Insurance? Should I buy a trailer? Could my SUV pull it? Who would train him? It was OVERWHELMING!!
I have found that the second best part of owning a horse is having “horse friends”. They come in all ages, shapes, disciplines and levels of experience…but they ALL had something to teach me. Through the help and guidance of more of them than I could name, I have made it through the past six years without ruining my horse. Timmy and I are far better off for all they have taught us.
In six years, Timmy has learned a lot. Frankly, he has learned more about how to outsmart me than he has learned about dressage, but we’ll save that for another article. I have watched him mature and become more confident. With the help of my trainer (4* Eventer Lainey Ashker) he has learned how to refine his movements. He has learned that while dressage is something he can do…he REALLY likes to jump. He has learned to pay attention to his rider and respect her. He found out the trailer can be the means to a fun day..and he learned (recently) how to self-load. He now knows what his job is and tries harder to excel. Most of all, he has learned the way to his Mom’s heart. Above all, that usually gets him what he wants.
As for me, the past 6 years have been some of the best in my life. I still have to pinch myself so I know I am not dreaming. While others my age start to think about retiring and slowing down, all I can think of is more training and time in the saddle. I am constantly learning as he learns. I am in better physical shape than I have ever been and I have to think my mental state is better as well. I have a growing circle of horse friends that have truly enhanced every day of my existence. I compete against people half my age and while we aren’t doing Grand Prix dressage, we are still out there trying! I can muck stalls, hitch up a trailer, tack up my own horse and keep up with the twenty-somethings I ride with! My, how things have changed!
Owning and loving Timmy has been such a blessing to me. How lucky we all are to know how it feels to be the partner of a magnificent animal like the horse. I am thankful that back in August of 2006, there was a generous man named Denis, who posted that ad in “Dreamhorse” looking for a good home for a redhead with a crazy star! Timmy is definitely MY Dream Horse!
Happy 12th Birthday Timmy. Thanks for all the joy you have brought to my life!