To ride or not to ride. This is a stupid question.
Passion is when your scared, but you saddle up anyway. Heart is when even though you knock down a barrel, you keep running like you still have a chance. Bravery is when you know your going to fall but you do your best to stay on. Intelligence is knowing when to stop riding, and not caring about the points. Cunning is knowing how to sit the stops and chase the cow. Skill....this is what ties it all together. I'm a cowgirl at heart, and a dancer in soul. When I fear for my own safety, my horses will always take care of me. I trust my horse more than I trust myself, for he knows more about his rider's secrets than the rider won't even admit to herself. His emotions will be intertwined with mine, and if I'm happy, he's happy. If I'm angry, he's angry. If I am fearful, he will be fearful. To be blessed or be cursed, we will be together forever.
Jester is my soulmate. He was born the day after I was born, and I rode him three years later on my mother's lap. A green three year old stud colt with the gentleness of an old gelding. His bloodlines were known for cow sense, speed, and intelligence, but they were also known for one darker, more sinister secret. One a six month old child would not consider. By the time I was five, I could lope the barrels on my paint stallion and be proud to say it. Although we had almost fifteen other horses at the time, I never bragged about the awards they had won or the training they had. No, no...I told every kid at school that I had a red stallion named Jester.
My first show on Jester was when I was six, and I did basic peewee gymkhana events. A reporter for a local equine magazine was there, and she fell in love with Jester from the start. She asked to do a special on "Choosing your childs first horse" and of course my parents said yes. So, astride my stallion and wearing my favorite fluffy pink winter coat, I posed for the pictures in classic little girl fashion. Jester just put his head down and fell asleep, not even caring that we were standing next to the pastures where the other stud horses were kept. Years have passed since then, and Jester is still with me. We grew up together and even though my name is not on his papers, he is truthfully my horse. We have won and lost many shows together, and we've both shed tears over painful falls and hard teenage times. Even after he was gelded, there was no change to his attitude He would always be the gentle, born-broke boy I always knew. The one who gave more than his fair share in the partnership and still insisted on more. The one who would pick me up when I fell, and encourage me to get back in the saddle. But our competition days would soon draw to a close with one heartbreaking day.
It was the last Gymkhana of the season, and I was stoked. Jester was decked out in my purple tack, and he was definitely mre antsy than normal. I took him into the warm-up arena and loped a few circles to blow off some of his steam, and I noticed he was falling back on his haunches. I quickly got off to investigate, and I found that he had a bunch of mud in his feet, even after I had just picked them. Odd, but whatever. I picked it out again and he was fine. I assumed this was the source of the problem. I was wrong. I entered the arena for the first event (Speed barrels) and I realized he was jittery, like, more than usual. I did my best to calm him down before the flag dropped. When it did, he shot forward in a bucking fit and I could do nothing but hold on. When he stopped, I shook in shock. Jester had never acted up in his life, let alone explode like that. I took pulled him without another question. Something was definitely wrong. I ran my hands along his entire body, starting from head down to his hips. When I touched the inside of his stifle, it burned like fire. I felt tears drip down my face. I knew this was coming. Jester had a bone spur in his left leg, and he could do nothing but gaming as he grew in age. He had never had a problem before now.
I wrapped his leg the best I could, giving him AspirPaste and keeping ice on the hot spot. We would never compete together again. All his heart and drive would be wasted, because of one tiny piece of bone that decided to hurt my horse. One question went to my mind: Why him? Of all the horses who could've gotten it, it had to happen to the gentle stud colt that I'd grown up with. It could've happened to a horse who was just a pet, that would never be asked to run barrels or chase a cow. But no, it had to happen to Jester. This may seem selfish of me, but I was watching my horse be hurt because he couldn't do what he loved. It hurt us both so much. My heart and soul seemed to be ripped out,but I knew our fun times were over. He would stay with me until he died, of course, but we would never again share the adrenaline of competition again. Now, Riding means this: Partnership. One cannot be complete without the other. It's knowing that no matter how much blood, sweat, and tears you put in to your horse you must know when to stop and listen, and you must know that it doesn't matter how much you'd win or how much you'd lose, you have to take care of one another. Nothing is more important than that.
Pssh.I didn't pick up the wrong lead
It's called a counter canter...
...A very advanced maneuver.