I really love hearing about the amazing bonds us riders form with our horses. Even more so with our heart horse! So please, tell me about yours. How long you two were(still are) together, how you knew it was your heart horse, post a pic too if you have one!
My heart horse was a grouchy little mutt of a pony (we think shetland X quarter pony X wooly mammoth) who was only 12.2hh but tried to be the boss of everyone! I remember the first day I put him and my 18hh draft horse in the arena together... They sniffed noses, Bart squeled, turned his butt to the draft and started kicking. The draft turned his butt too and I thought Bart was going to be a goner! But the draft(Dozer) just tucked his butt and let Bart kick him. They were friends ever since.
Now Bart wasn't just weird to look at, he also had quite the personality! He hated pretty much everyone (except me- luckily!) and would take complete advantage of any beginner. He'd run right to the gate with them and then just stand there. It always pissed off my friends trying to ride him. And he was brave too! My friend Cierra and I went on a ride through our town (her on Bart, me on my draft) and we went to a drive-thru. Well, the employee clucked at Bart wanting to pet him and Bart stuck his head right through the window! His braveness would go into hiding sometimes when he got bored on a trail ride though. He'd randomly spook at bushes or a car, things he wasn't actually afraid of. He just wanted to spice up the ride.
He also loved eating. He'd get out a few times a year and the next morning when I'd find him he'd have his head in the bucket of bran, munching away! Of course that was after he raided the cookie bin ;).
He came up lame a few times and we learned how to keep it pretty well under control. His last two years with me were pretty tough health wise. He dropped a bunch of weight because he wasn't chewing his food enough to get the nutrients so after a diet switch, he was back to being fat and he had so much energy! He actually bucked with me for the first time ever about a month after he was switched to his pellets!
His last two weeks were crazy and unexpected. He stopped eating and going to the bathroom. The vet told me he had a 5% chance of living. I was a complete mess but my family wasn't about to give up on him. We took him to an Equine Hospital and an hour and a half away. I visited him after a week and he seemed different... It scared me. And the next week, the day before I was going to go see him, I arrived at home to see my mom crying. He was put down that morning. I broke down. I still do when I think about it.
He was the best horse ever, he built up my confidence, taught me how to show the horse I was in control, took me on some crazy adventures, and was always there for me when I needed a shoulder to cry on. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about him and want him back.
Bart was my heart horse. I had him for 9 years (more than half my life!) and I hope he somehow finds his way back to me someday.
Sorry mine is so long and slightly all over the place. I just love talking about my boy! Please share your stories as well!
I was very lucky to have two beautiful heart horses. The first one was a 3 year old ridgeling Quarter horse named Troy. (We didn’t find out he was a ridgeling until many, many years later – we thought he was just a brat) We didn’t have a vet check, and none of us even touched him before we bought him. He cost $100.00 – a giveway price even back then. He had never been ridden, and I was a skinny 11 year old who had been taking lessons for about a year.
All I had ever want to do was to jump, but everyone told me that–“foundation type Quarter horses don’t jump.” I realize now, he had a naturally perfect headset and gait for western pleasure, but I rode him English. He was never mean, but very, very pushy on the ground. He just about went nuts around mares, and it didn’t help that my barn owner used him to tease mares. As long as I owned him, I felt much safer on his back than I did leading him. He bucked and crow hopped a lot at the beginning, and taking him on the trail was a nightmare – he’d give that ‘train whistle’ snort, and off we’d go’ bucking, rearing and spinning. He never bolted, however. Believe it or not, he never bucked me off. He came close a couple of times, and I swear that as soon as I felt myself losing my balance, he would stop for a moment until I got my balance back, then off he’d go again.
Anyway, several years and a lot of miles later, I started showing him in hunter and jumper classes. He could literally ‘jig’ up to a 5 foot fence and clear it. The highest I ever jumped him was 6 feet – bareback. He was a natural. I showed him VERY limitedly, and he was still nationally ranked in both working hunters and junior and open jumpers. Later, I also showed him a few times in western pleasure and trail classes, and he did great in those, too.
By the time he was ten, I could put a kid on his back and send him in just about any class at as show, and he would take them through it and usually at least place. Anyone who rode him that tried to bully him, however, would find themselves on the ground. He dumped my riding instructor literally every time she got on, and he was particularly belligerent with men who were going to show him who was boss. We got along great, however. He always tried his best for me, and never hurt me.
When he was 11, I got married and was unable to keep him. I sold him to an 11 year old boy who loved him as much as I did, and I was still able to ride him as much as I wanted, and they consulted me about everything. He was still my horse. When he was 17, he became ill, and was diagnosed with a monolith stone that had literally torn him up and he was euthanized.
The first pictured is the day I got Troy. The second is a few years later, the third is when we were showing in a Puissance class.
I never thought I’d have another horse – I started training dogs and the horse dream gradually disappeared. However, a few years ago, my daughter moved to KY and purchased a small horse farm. As soon as I walked into the bar, the old ache returned. OI decided to get an older, well trained “bombproof” gelding for trail riding. At almost 60, the ground looked a lot harder than it used to!
I had never particularly liked palominos, but for some reason, I looked at an ad for a 2 year old palomino filly named Nibbles. I figured I’d go look at her, because she was close, and I knew I wasn’t going to buy the first horse I found. I was in no hurry. One and a half hours after I first saw her, she was delivered to my daughter’s farm. No vet check. I didn’t ride her. I didn’t really go over her to check for any issues. I didn’t see anyone else ride her or tack her up. STUPID!! But something about her just sold me. Anyway, she has been a dream. I keep waiting for her to do SOMETHING wrong, but she just hasn’t. She’s calm, well behaved, and sweet. She ties, is perfect on the trail – no spook at all. She’s not a bit mareish and has very nice gaits. I have ridden her very limitedly, but I see absolutely no problems.
When my daughter’s Haflinger dumped her on the trail and stepped on her, My husband jumped off of Nibbles and ran to my daughter. Nibbbles stayed ground tied perfectly for at least 5 minutes, even though she had never been trained to. She then ponied my daughter’s out of control horse back to the barn like a trooper. My husband had to just drop her reins to control the Haflinger, and Nibbles walked slowly back to the bar with no guidance. Another time, my daughter’s dog jumped on her back from a ledge above. Any other hose I know would have freaked, but Nibbles bucked once and ran about 15 feet, then turned around and just looked at the dog.
She has been vet checked since, and she’s in great shape. Everything I teach her, it seems like she already knows or learns WAY too quickly. She really doesn’t act like a horse – more like a dog. I know that I will have to have some problems with her eventually, but it doesn’t matter. Nibbles is my heart horse as much as Troy was, and they will both always be. They both were perfect for that time of my life.
I've posted about her before, but I never get sick of talking about her. My heart horse was Sam (registered Part-Arab as Champagne Moi). When we were looking for a horse of my very own, she was the first horse we went to look at and when I got home I begged my dad to buy her. He tried to explain to my 9 year old self that we should go see what else was out there, but I would hear none of that. I didn't want to see what else was out there, I had seen enough. My dad didn't stand a chance and 2 weeks later, she was mine.
Sam was fantastically spunky and would go anywhere I asked her to... but only if *I* asked her. Everyone else got to experience her sassy side. I used to hop on her bareback without a bridle or halter and lay on her back and watch the clouds (in hindsight, not smart!). Even if the other horses walked away to the other side of the field, she would stay put until I got off. She also earned the nickname the "bulldozer" because on trail rides, there was no amount of brush or scrub that she wouldn't push through and no amount of water she wouldn't cross.
I had her for 9 years before she died very suddenly of a massive heart attack. I still have her baby, Lilly, who is very similar to her in personality and markings.
Sam and I at a horse show when I was about 12 or 13 and Sam coming to see what's up.
Canadian Beauty's Dreamcatcher aka Joey-My Heart Horse
Wow, I've talked about my sweet Joey on many other posts but I too, never get tired of talking about him. Hope this is not too redundant. As a child I was like many horse crazy girls. I dreamed about horses all the time and always tested my dad to see if the response to the ever burning question in my heart would one day be "Yes, you can have a horse." It finally came one day after taking riding lessons for some time. I thought I was going to burst! I always loved Arabian horses and we bought a 13 yo chestnut NSH named Ace. I loved her but she wasn't with me nearly long enough and I had to sell her when we moved off the farm. I can still see her loading into the little girl's trailer on that warm summer day. I was heartbroken. I never thought I could ever have another horse of my own till one day when our mortgage was finally paid, I briefly let the thought of owning my own horse again enter my mind.
I went to look at a boarding facility close by and I still wouldn't let myself even think that would be possible. I didn't want to get my hopes up but then I saw the barn and was pleasantly surprised. It was clean, the owner was a friend and knowledgeable about horses and most of all the board was affordable and a place was available. It was the beginning of my second and most fulfilling journey of horse ownership.
I guess it was meant to be but, the first horse I ended up going to see was a 10 yo bay Half Arab horse and funny enough he was also the same breed as my first horse Ace. I never rode him but his owner and breeder and I talked for over an hour about him while my family and friend waited in the car. I went to see a few other horses and even rode them but I just couldn't get Joey out of my mind. I knew in the back of my mind that it wasn't always a great idea to buy the first horse you see let alone not ride or vet him. I even thought he was a little small at only 14h3. I waited 2 long weeks and called his owner back and decided to buy him.
I was over the moon! It was like Christmas day for me when we went to take him home. I could hardly sleep! Joey is truly my heart horse as I trust him with my life. I know this may sound corny but I have never had this feeling of trust and utter devotion to another creature before. He is sensible, intuitive, safe, devoted, strong, will give me his all if I asked for it, versatile, handsome, smooth riding and literally a dream. He is always up for a challenge and hasn't failed by impressing everyone including me with what he has accomplished. He was shown by his previous owner in WP, EP, Arab classes, Saddlebred classes, and driving classes. Since he has been with me he has tried trail riding, small jumps, western gaming for fun at our barn, pulls a two person cart (he taught me) and just this past year competed in team penning. He was fearless with the cows. He was the only NSH amongst all the quarter horses. I was very proud of him.
My journey is only 5 years long now with Joey and I plan on having him with me for as long as we both live. My heart lifts and my eyes gleam every time I see him and whenever we gallop together in the fields during the ever changing seasons.
Here are some pics of Joey with my daughter and husband. I always seem to be the one taking the pics.
^ Ha, I laughed out loud when I read about the team penning. I too did a bit of that growing up on Sam and you should have seen the raised eye brows since she was always the only non-QH there. We didn't do too much of it; she always did well, but I could tell she would much prefer to do something else! It's so neat to read about everyone else's experiences!
My heart horse is my paint gelding, Scooter. When my uncle first got him as a young colt I was only 7 or 8 and I was so fascinated in him. He was so full of spirit and couldn't be touched. I am now 14 and Scooter is 8. My uncle gave me Scooter January of last year and he was untouched. I was surprised that they even got him in and out of the trailor. The first week or two Scooter kept jumping the fence and was constantly escaping. After Scooter got use to his new home I started to break him. This horse can BUCK!! He was very aggressive but I finally calmed him down. 3 months later, I had Scooter running barrels and poles. He's really good at them. Now Scooter is a teacher for little kids and my unexperienced friends. He has taught, IDk how many people how to ride and to trust a horse. Scooter was the first horse I trained and broke and raised on my own. And I was the first person for Scooter to trust. Me and Scooter have both come a long ways. He has trained many ppl while I have trained many horses. We both helped each other out alot and now he is the love of my life. You can see pics of Scooter if you click on the word horses above my pic to the left.
Thanks for your stories too. I never tire learning about other's experiences with their heart horses. So sorry Glynnis about Sam. We never seem to have enough time with the animals we love. Nice to hear about her filly Lilly. You're very lucky. I loved your story CC about your horse Troy. What a jumper! My BO has a QH that certainly doesn't look like a jumper but whoa can he jump! He really surprised me by the height he can clear over the fences for such a solid guy. And, ICAY thanks for starting this thread. I was sad reading about your horse Bart and I hope one day you'll be lucky enough to find another heart horse. Thanks again everyone!
I have three heart horses and inherited a fourth one this year.....
I got Chips who is a appy gelding who will be 10 this year, I got him at 6 weeks old (his Mom was here for awhile too), he's a big boy and I prefer a smaller horse so a good friend rides him for me and has been for about 4yrs. Now, they both learnt how together.
This is my friend and Chips...
Then I got my mare Spice who is going to be 11 this year. She was 3 when I got her and I hadn't ridden in over 30yrs.! She had been out in pasture her whole life and brought in for 30 days of riding on her and then I got her. I worked with her alot in the round pen and rode her for the first 3yrs. With a bareback pad and her halter. I trust her greatly and she's the best trail partner I could ask for! She may not be big but she has a big heart!
I also have Street who is Spice's boy LOL he's going to be 4yrs. This April and I started him under saddle this fall, I work with him in a halter/bareback pad and a friend works with him with the saddle/bridle. He's hopefully going to be a great trail horse like his Mom some day!
My two horses are my heart horses. My QH mare, Doll, was my lesson horse when I first started riding. My parents bought her for me and I can do anything with her! We've gone to shows, trail rode, been in parades and she's the horse I can throw a halter and one lead rope on and take her for a ride. She takes care of me and I never worry about her spooking or doing anything bad. This past year I didn't get to ride her as much but whenever I could I threw a halter and lead rope on her and rode out in a field. I can always throw anyone on her and she doesn't raise a fuss, if they get nervous or start to lose their balance she slows down or stops. She ground ties, and whenever I ride her around other horses (or even just past the stallion's paddock) she has a 'work first' mentality and ignores the other horses until the rides over.
My moms horse, Justin, is a rescue who had been retrained and then put out to pasture as a pet (due to time constraints). A few years ago I decided to work him and found an amazing horse! He is willing, he honestly puts his heart into whatever you ask of him. I started working him to give myself a challenge (and because I'd always loved him, did I mention he was my mom's lesson horse when she started riding again? :)) I began to work him in dressage and he's just been a trooper. He has what I call 'flashbacks' to his abuse and when something really scares him (for instance, one time when I began to canter him in english a truck backfired in the neighbors yard, so he gave a buck and began to try and bolt because he reverted back to his previous 'training') his brain flys out the window. He's gotten better but there are certain things that still get to him; through this all though he's just wonderful. He is really the story of a comeback from an abusive start and just continues to amaze me! He's also so brilliant that we taught him to bow, shake hands (by extending his hoof) and stay and come. He's become quite the ham in his new life! ;)
While she's my first horse, I truely believe that the mare that I own right now is my heart horse. She is miniature horse, so only stands 34" so I can't ride her, but that doesn't bother me one bit. She is VERY opinionated and VERY mareish, but its part of what makes her my Sour xD
I first saw Sour a few minutes after she was born on my first day to work at the farm, and remember thinking she was the most beautiful baby I'd ever seen. I didn't realize at the time just what horse she was, and she was sold with her dam and taken to a large pasture to grow. I figured I'd never see her again.
About 6 or 7 months later though, a tiny, rather ugly little miniature horse filly with slippered feed, a halter grown into her face, and a nasty attitude with no human contact came to our farm loaded in an SUV trunk. She leapt out and into her pen with firey eyes and I knew then she was something special.
Unfortunately, some idiot of a man decided a few weeks later to 'break her in' quickly so she could be used as a kids horse, and laid her down, which is a method where the horse's feet are roped and yanked out from under them, they're thrown on the ground, and sat on until they stop struggling. Its supposed to break their spirit. With her though, it just unleashed a fiery hate for humans and ropes, and she was quickly deemed a 'man eating horse' after she attempted to kill one of the workers, and began to lunge with barred teeth and kick at anyone who got near to her. They left her in a pen, destined to got to the meat buyer.
I saw something special in Sour though, and while looking back what I did was stupid, I decided to make her 'my project' even though I was only 12 with very, very little horse experience. With tons of carrots, many hours of sitting in her pen, and quiet words though, I slowly won her over. She didn't like me, and sometimes I still wonder if she does, but she tolerated me.
From there I began to work with her to turn her around from the demon spawn horse to at least a semi acceptable miniature horse. It took me over three years, countless tears, MANY mistakes on my part that I'm lucky didn't kill either of us that had to be trained out of her as I progressed in my knowledge, and quite a few bites and kicks, but we are now an inseperable team. As it turns out, all she had wanted was someone to feed her and give her a purpose. Someone recommended to me that I try to cart train her which sounded crazy at the time, and most people didn't think she could do it, but under guidance of a trainer I can now saw that she is now a fairly well broke (still training) four year old miniature cart horse, and she LOVES IT. Once she was given a job, she turned from a crabby, antisocial horse to one who would tack herself up if she could.
Still, Sour is a difficult horse and I can't imagine how bad she would have been as a full sized horse. She's moody and sometimes its hard enough work to just get her to behave decently, but other times she's a star. She still doesn't really like other people, but she has learned to put up with them and act nice about it. She's very opinionated and must be ASKED to do things, and she is very sensative. She flies into a rage if one of the men try to ask her to do something too roughly, and she isn't an affectionate animal. Grooming annoys her but she realizes its a duty if she wants to go driving, so puts up with it. But I love her. We click together. No other horse will work for me like she does, and she never lets me down. She'll never be the pony who's withers I can cry on and who's mane will dry my eyes (she's more likely to be the one that caused the crying! LOL) but she is always there to take me away and be my dependable companion when I need her. I can't imagine her any other way :)