LOL, I had to laugh because, as I've read this thread and responded I sat here and cried. My husband hasn't got a clue what a 'heart' animal is. He loves them and thinks they're great but that soul to soul thing we're talking about here just mystifies him. I dunno? Is it a woman thing?
I loved and partnered with my first heart horse the way only a 13 y.o. Girl can, we did everything together. He was an OTTB and I picked him out at the track, brought him home, fed him up, trained him and showed him and trail rode him for years and years. He was my best friend, my brother, my first boyfriend (heck he was my only REAL boyfriend until I was in my 20's, just could not be bothered as long as I had him), my EVERYTHING, all I needed.
Now I have Patti and several other horses that I love to death, but Patti is just WOW. She's the one I'll snuggle in the lee side of a round bale in the pasture. We've napped for hours like that, with the other horses standing around us, me laying in the hay and Patti snuggled right up against me with my arms around her neck. She will not move a muscle when we're snuggled down like that. She's the one on a cold winter's night that I go out to the barn at midnight and just stand and hold her head against my chest when she sleeps. She's the one that I grab when I need to ride the neighbors cows back onto his property, the one I grab when I get the small tractor stuck in the mud and need a 'tow'. She's the one I ride out on trail and she's the one who took fiendish glee in teaching me that even a little short woman needs to duck branches when she's on a tall horse. Lucky was 14.2, she's 16+, he was the only horse I rode for close to 25 years so it WAS a learning curve.
As a baby Patti would follow me around her stall and nudge me to scritch her butt with the apple picker, that mare loves having her butt scritched like no other horse I've ever known. And she stays laying down in her stall when I come in so I can go over and wrap my arms around her neck and kiss her on that little softie spot right behind her ear. She came over to me as a 2 year old and kept pushing me over to the pipes in her corral one day when I was cleaning. I told her, "If you keep that up, I'm climbing those pipes and going to get up on you.". Even at 2 she was close to 16 hh. She kept it up, I climbed the pipes and sat on her and a total partnership was born. She's never actually been saddle broke, she was born that way. Not to say we don't disagree and have to work on things, she's a very opinionated mare, we certainly do argue on occassion. But with Patti no matter how much she resists or what she does when she first is balky, I'm never afraid that she's going to hurt me. She just doesn't resist like that. And after the first minute or 2 of saying, "NO NO NO!", when I say, "Please? Won't you try just for me?", she says, "OK" and it's all over.
At first I thought it was because I'd raised her that we were so close, but I didn't breed her just got her as a youngl filly. I've had others that I've bred and never got that kind of bond with and was able to sell them to people who wanted a good horse. Patti is the one horse on the property that whenever anyone asks about her I tell them, "She'll be available when you can pry her lead rope out of my cold, dead fingers.". The idea of selling her makes me physically ill, I just can't imagine not having Patti in my life.
I have others who have shown more, won more titles and technically are worth a lot more money, and I love them all. But Patti is the priceless one. We are downsizing now, cutting way back on breeding and have several for sale. There are 5 or 6 that really aren't for sale but only 2 that are abolutely NOT for sale, and of course, Patti is number one on the NOT FOR SALE AT ANY PRICE list.