It's been one hell of a ride.
She was an orphan. Her mother died abruptly and she was C-sectioned. She was sent to a surrogate mother and became the farm greeter, with free run of the ranch and the first one to run to the cars as they pulled in. At two, she was started on the reining path.
When we got her, there was no gas pedal. We bought her at three, having been shown twice and done well. Intending her as a reiner, we quickly discovered she did not have the heart for it. She was lazy. It was like pedalling a bike uphill. She was sluggish, uncooperative, and not necessarily bad just...slow.
We discovered then that she was Selenium deficient. In fact, the vet was surprised she even managed to be shown at all. So we started her on a supplement...and that's when all hell broke loose.
She felt so good he went crazy. I mean, bucking bronco crazy. Running through my hands, not respecting me or anyone else. Rearing. It was to the point where I never wanted to ride her. I dreaded going to the barn.
We discovered after this that not only did she feel so much better to prompt her into these fits, but she actually had a sharp tooth that was causing her pain in her mouth. We got that fixed, and things got better. She hated showing in reining. She tried to jump on top of a judge. She lost her steering wheel and her brakes. She needed to know that even though she felt good now, she still had to listen. She'd never felt good before, so she needed playtime.
Against all our better senses, we started letting her run. She wanted to ignore her brake pedal? Fine, let's move. I breezed her twice a week. We worked like hell when she got mad. She learned that she could stretch out and it was okay to do that. She found a job on the barrel pattern that she loved. After I ran barrels on her, she went into the show ring and for the first time since I had her she felt like she worked. She aired out her large fast circles, she spun fast and correct, she stopped and had the smoothest lead changes and transitions I had ever felt on a horse.
About this time as well, as some of you remember, she started going on trail rides. Before she would rear, spin around, run into branches, have no regard for me on her back. Today, I can confidently get on her bareback and in a halter and go out for hours with no episodes.
We went on to carry flags, do drill team, run all the gaming events, compete in reining, team penning, ranch sorting, working ranch classes and ranch versatility, western horsemanship, dressage, and hunt seat equitation. She has ponied colts on the ranch twice her size and drug them through water. She was gone swimming in the lake. She has run at the Pendleton, the biggest barrel pattern in the world, three times, without even remotely being out of breath. She is giving lessons to little kids.
I guess I'm just blessed. I found a partner who I trust, despite all we've been through. She's my everything now, I can't imagine life without her. Sure, we both have a nasty girl attitude, but she has taught me more than any horse ever could have.
And, finally, I leave you with a video I made today. It wasn't all rainbows and sunshine, there were times when I wanted to give up, but now I know everything was worth it. Leana Little, by Lean With Me out of Chexintheexpresslane, called "The Little Weanie", "Cee Leana", or just plain old Selena...Is my heart horse in every way, shape and form.