07-06-2010, 11:55 AM
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My childhood pony, Buddy, taught me to feel safe on and with horses (despite the broken arm he gave me his first night home), to want the speed and spirit that he never gave, and that with a good enough horse, literally anything is possible.
My dad's horses completely shattered my confidence. They taught me to fear horses. They taught me that when horses came out, I went in the house and ignored them. But most importantly, they taught me that anger has no place when working with horses.
Then I started taking lessons. Joe is the horse that taught me to ride, from day one. He's the miserable old school horse who doesn't like anyone but puts up with small children and beginner incompetence because he's just a good horse.
Miracle, the other, more advanced school horse, taught me that, for her, anyways, you can never demand or tell her anything, or she gets pissy and emotional and does exactly the opposite of what you just said.
And then came Tango, when I was convinced I was a good enough rider to have my own horse. Oh, what haven't we been through. Our first few months together were not at all enjoyable. They were terrifying, and frustrating, and there were days I just wanted to give up on her completely. That was before I realized...I didn't know the first thing about this, and I was completely not ready for my own horse. But I acknowledged that, and I started learning, applying that knowledge, and I was rewarded with a completely calm, sweet, and respectful little mare...on the ground, anyways.
Tango has made me an overall better person. For my entire life I've been shy, a little uptight, and have a temper to match a Tasmanian devil. Tango has taught me that if I'm shy, I get pushed around and that nobody respects me. She's taught me to let loose, go with the flow, that everything can't and won't be my way all the time. She's still teaching me to lose that terrible temper because things just go downhill even faster when I get angry, and though it still fires up at times, it's nothing compared to what it used to be. She's taught me to grow up and mature, because things are not as picture-perfect as they are in movies, and I'm going to have to deal with it. She's also taught me to love galloping.