May I tell our story again? :) It will be a long one, so cookies to those who read it to the end.
Snickers was the one who chose me, and this is how it happened.
I used to dream about horses all my childhood. I gasped and attempted running to every horse I ever saw and begged my parents to let me ride. However, after a couple of minor accidents with pony ride ponies and their careless owners, my parents decided that riding is both too dangerous and expensive.
Fast forward 15 years, I had gained my own life and earnings, and wanted to take up an active hobby. But everything I tried out - dancing, pilates, yoga, etc. - seemed just too far from home, too expensive, badly scheduled, with groups too large or too nosy, etc. Then a friend of mine happened to mention that she used to ride horses. The exact same moment all my childhood dreams and memories came back to me and I knew what I was going to do.
I started stashing up money for my first lessons, and started looking for a lesson barn. I was interested in natural horsemanship and soon found a couple of NH barns, one of which was too far from my home, so I started looking into the other one. The barn had an online discussion forum with a thread about their horses, and there I first read about Snickers. He was described as a witty, mischievous youngster, and I somehow felt that I absolutely HAVE to meet him. That's how I booked my first lesson in that barn two years ago, and that's how he looked in the thread about him in the forum: Watch Snikers II | fransa Episodes | Blip
I didn't meet Snickers until October (started the lessons in May), because he was sent away for the summer to grow up a bit in another barn. He was just 4 at the time. When autumn came, he was given to me for a groundwork lesson. It was hard - he was pushy and dominant, either didn't react to my novice cues, either even reared and threatened me. My trainer decided that it was too early both for him and myself, but I wasn't discouraged and felt that I have a future with this horse, although buying a horse was completely out of question at that time. Not only I was too green, Snickers was also too expensive for me and I was afraid he'd be sold to someone else before I was experienced enough for him.
However, he wasn't sold, although he was on sale. Horse market was low around here and the BO had set up an unreasonably high price for him. As my experience grew, I started getting him for lessons again, first groundwork, then also riding. And even between the lessons I kept sneaking in the barn and the fields just to stand by his side a bit. I grew affectionate, and it seemed that so did Snickers. We sometimes played at liberty in an arena with many other horses in it, and he still followed me around and played, completely focused on everything I did. All the trainers said that he never did anything like that for anyone else - I was clearly his favourite. Apart from that, he really didn't enjoy being a lesson horse and was famous for being the laziest, slowest and most passive horse around, besides, with a nasty attitude - biting, pawing, ignoring others, and also messing with any equipment he could get his teeth on.
His owner, the BO, nicknamed him "The Jerk" and was ranting all the time how fugly Snickers is, how useless, thus Snickers also got worse treatment than others - his stable was rarely cleaned, he always got less hay, less medical attention, and, when a new horse moved in, Snickers was moved out of his stable and tied to a chain in the barn. I hated seeing it, but there was nothing I could do and I tried silencing my affection when Snickers was sent off to a summer riding camp for a month.
However, when he returned, my heart raced and I knew that I'd never forgive if I let this horse go. Or let him down. He had done so much for me and he had showed such trust and affection towards me, although I tried fighting it with my mind and argumenting that I'd never be able to afford him. I decided that there is just one way how I can help him - lease him, and that I did. On the first of October, precisely a year after I first saw him, I first visited his usual self in the paddock - standing with eyes closed, as always, and head low, as always, passive as ever - and then went to sign the lease contract with the BO. When I returned, a whole different horse was waiting for me in the paddock - the one I had seen in him and believed in all this time. He held his head high, his eyes were wide open and beaming, and he was prancing and neighing as I approached! I know, it sound all Black-Stallion-ey, but that's what he did and I now knew that our ways would not part anymore. He couldn't have chosen a better way to show me he wanted to be with me, and me only.
My rational mind still fought against it, argumenting that green+green=disaster, but I bought him last December. It is now a couple of days short since I've been his owner, and since then we've changed barns and kept developing our relationship, and I just know I did the right thing. What was previously claimed to be "a jerk", turned out to be a very curious, intelligent and active horse with much to teach. Such horses come once in a lifetime and we should never ignore their invitations to become their humans. And Snickers is clearly happy, which is the most important thing to me now.