Letter to my Lesson Horse
My Dear Winton,
Can you believe that we have known each other for six years. We first meet when I was 9, and you were a young quarter horse. We were perfect for each other, I had buck teeth and pig tails sticking out of my helmet, and you had a very nerdy herd of friends. You taught me how to canter, ride a buck, and jump. We won our first ribbon together, and even though it is green it is still one of my favorites. After a while we went our separate ways, and I got stuck on the flat. I went through a time where my legs were growing so fast that I had to adjust my stirrups throughout the lesson. I needed new boots every month, and my gangly body had difficulty controlling horses. I rode little ponies, and began to regain my strength and power. I moved on to training thoroughbreds fresh off the track, and young Arabians, turning them into beautiful lesson horses. Riding at a pure lesson barn I always knew that there would be a chance that we would cross paths again, but it happened at the most unlikely of times. Stepping back into the jump arena, I was a confident, almost strong enough 15 year old. My ADHD was now under control, and I was ready to take the reins. I was hoping that I could continue on one of my projects, but our manager had different plans. Instead she matched me with you. You were no longer in your single stall, but a large box stall in the ranger barn. You were a little heavier, a little older, and you had a little less muscle, but you still had the same gleam in your eyes. In our time away from each other, you learned how to be a lesson horse, literally! You knew who could and couldn’t ride, and took full advantage of your knowledge. I could tell you were dying laughing when you took these cocky young riders out. You have a great since of humor. You also became an ambassador for special riders. You are great with them, and they love you dearly. You show them more respect than you show me on show days. You were even the lucky recipient of a specially fitted saddle, allowing any rider to ride. You bring so much joy to them. My legs have finally stopped growing, and are finally strong enough to hold a proper leg position. I can give effortless cues, and canter without stirrups. You came back into my life at a time that I really needed a friend. I was a nerdy, unconfident freshman who just needed a friend. You listen to my secrets, but would never repeat them to others, you allow me to braid your mane into tiny beautiful braids without a fit, and we have even won blue ribbons. Isn’t it funny how things come full circle? Most girls who ride at my school own their own fancy horse, but I would much rather have you. With my new focus and control we have flourished together. Our manager told me recently that you have become a much more pleasurable and personably horse since I have started riding you. She has complemented me on how I school you, and often awards us the “Blue Ribbon” of the class. We are still getting the hang of things in the show ring, but it will come in time. She praised us for our work in the jump field this weekend, and it was a blast being airborne like that. When she pointed us towards a larger jump with bushes in the field, I panicked at first, but we took it like a pro. People were shocked to see how you moved, and were amazed at how fast you could actually move. They just don’t understand that you’re a baby at heart, and love nothing more but to play in the field. We have a special connection Winton, your my friend, and I am yours. You have built my confidence up, and I am fearless on your back. I wish some days you could come to school with me, and give me the same confidence.
Thank you with all of my heart Winton, you have been a saving grace for me, and I look forward to many more years together.