Tag Archives: growing up

The hard decisions

Over the past few weeks I’ve been wrestling with the idea of selling one of my horses. Not just any of them, either. I’ve decided to sell Belle.

I don’t think I’ve really introduced my horses on this blog, so here’s a little background on Belle. Actually, it’s not so little. It’s going to be long and full of pictures, so consider yourself warned.

Here we go…

I didn’t find Belle, Belle sort of found me. When she was 10 months old my dad decided to surprise me with my first “baby” to train in the form of bringing her home and turning her out in the pasture while I was away. 12 year old me was absolutely giddy with the idea of a foal all of my own to train up as my super horse. 12 year old me also had no idea what I was doing. But I was happy.

Image

 

 

I immediately set to work on training her. Within 6 weeks I had trained her to bite, rear, and kick. I had trained her to snatch treats and trample anyone who tried to lead her. That was when she started training me.

Image

 

 

 

Slowly but surely I learned a new way of communicating with Belle. I put away the treat bag and together we learned a language of love and respect. I learned that while baby horses may be cute, they are also dangerous. I learned that in order for Belle to respect me as the boss horse I had to learn to think like a horse.

Image

 

Many of our training sessions ended with frustration, some ended in tears, but gradually more and more of our sessions ended with happy cuddles.

 

Image

 

Belle never transformed into an easy horse to handle. She still isn’t. But she learned to listen to me and I developed a level of confidence I didn’t have before. 

 

No successful training session was taken for granted. Knowing how difficult she could be, I was truly grateful for each obedient response she offered.

Image

 

There were silly times, too. I wasn’t the only one who wanted to have fun in this relationship. Belle was curious and always wanting to play so I had to learn to work with that tendency rather than fight against her playful spirit.

Image

Image

 

Belle grew and grew, and finally she grew strong enough for me to ride her. She handled it like a champ.

Image

Image

Image

 

While she was fearless about having a human on her back, she proved to be just as stubborn under saddle as she was on the ground…

Image

Image

Image

 

All that fighting made her first canter a very rewarding experience.

Image

 

Each ride got a little better and Belle learned to respect me not only on the ground but also on her back. As I grew up and began highschool, her training also advanced. 

Image

 

Image

Image

 

 

And of course she was included in my senior pictures…

Image

 

Image

 

Image

 

Image

 

But it’s funny how reality hits after graduation. How the real world suddenly becomes so real.

Gone are the days of hours in the barn. Working full time becomes a priority. Minimizing costs, saving money, becoming independent. That’s what life looks like now. Thankfully teaching horseback riding lessons keeps me involved with my horses. I tried to justify holding onto Belle with the excuse of using her as a lesson horse. It doesn’t work. Belle doesn’t like a different person riding her every day and she proves to be too much of a challenge for most of my riders. 

I try to keep up with her on my own time…

Image

 

….but this baby is now 5 and needs my attention to finish his training and his mama is 22 and needs some extra care. 

Image

That leaves Belle on the back burner most of the time. Not her favorite place to be.

I finally came to terms with the idea of letting Belle start a new adventure. It’s time for her to find a new little girl and teach her all the things she taught me. I’m thankful for the years I had her and the horsemanship skills I learned from her. Now I am ready to watch her live the dream all over again with someone else.

Image

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized