Here’s another amazing example of a rider (jockey Nate Hubbard), who refused to let gravity and bad luck bring him down. In fact, Hubbard held on for dear life after the filly, Sweetwater Oak, stumbled in the home stretch. He was still dangling from her neck as they crossed the finish line in second place. The track stewards ruled it an official finish because Hubbard’s feet never touched the ground and Sweetwater Oak carried her assigned weight throughout the race.
Next time you go to the barn, make sure you give your horse a hug.
Last week a friend of mine lost her fabulous mare after a pasture accident — Living Life in the Middle — reminding us that these fabulous creatures that we love and treasure are as fragile as they are powerful, and that their time with us is sadly limited.
Horses give us an amazing sense of elation and freedom. They allow us to sprout wings and fly. They are our partners in often unimaginable thrills. After a day of hunting, I look around and see riders who are grinning from ear to ear, humbled by the willingness of their horses to gallop, jump and share the excitement of following the hounds.
And yet horses can break our hearts. A bad step, a stomach ache, a moment of panic — any one of these can be career ending, or even worse, life ending. Horses find innumerable ways to hurt themselves even when bubble wrapped. We care for them the best way we can and yet some still find ways to thwart our efforts.
I remember all too well when I lost my Trakehner gelding, Kronefurst, back in October of 2008 (hard to believe it was so long ago), it was sudden and mysterious. He showed a variety of unrelated symptoms, stumping my team of vets. He died at Tufts less than 24 hours after arriving and I was stunned. I had been preparing for a long rehabilitation, not for grieving. Three months later, after a necropsy was performed, I learned he had a blood clot near his poll. There was nothing that anyone could have done for him; it was just bad luck.
I suppose that the best thing we can do is enjoy our horses every day we ride, even the bad days — the ones where you doubt your sanity and want to throw in the towel. Then remember to give them a hug and thank them for giving you so much joy.
Horse owners sometimes say that we have “heart horses”, horses that are so special they own a piece of your heart. Suzanne’s mare, Sugar, was certainly one of those. She was beautiful, powerful and extremely fun to ride. I was privileged enough to hunt her a few times and she was magnificent. I know that she gave a lot of joy (even while inciting a few unprintable words). She was well loved and will be long missed.
Okay, I am seriously looking for fun things to do in the snow with horses. This video is adorable. These young minis look like the sled should be for them!
If I were to try sledding among our herd, Freedom would be in Connecticut by now, Zelda would gallop along next to me, Curly would watch with amusement and Willow would try to get on the sled!
Here in New England we are still digging out from the storm . . . with more snow expected over night
Another point of reference is Rockinghorse ranch. Some of the smaller ponies are completely submerged.
We are expecting wickedly cold temperatures here for the next week. I really don’t like waking up to negative numbers.
Gotta love herd dynamics. Herd dynamics took on a new twist this morning. As usual, Zelda was the first one out so that she could take possession of “her” hay.
Then she decided that she had to roll and started searching for the perfect spot. She rolled, got up and rolled again.
Andy watched with great interest. You could see the wheels turning. After she had finished, he lowered himself to the ground with much sighing and groaning (he’s a big horse and older, I can relate to the difficulty).
He’s good at rolling — he went all the way over three times before rising to his feet and shaking.
Then Curly got into the rolling action. She too had a good long roll.
Who says that horses don’t watch and learn?
When I had my horse, Bogie, at a boarding facility, I discovered he had a real affinity for one of the barn cats. He didn’t much like other horses, but he loved this cat. I would frequently find the cat in his stall, enjoying the snuffling and nuzzling from his oversize friend.
We don’t have any cats at our barn now — too many coyotes for outside cats — so I don’t know whether my horses would like a cat pet. Freedom loves dogs. He loves to nuzzle them and blow in their fur. Not too many dogs reciprocate this feeling, but he has found a few puppies who will lick his nose!