But if you think you’ll convince me to be changing my ways – You’ve got another think coming because I know what pays
We were standing looking out over the pasture at my horses and discussing my mare, Guilty. She had come a long way since I found her and made her my horse against everyone’s advice. She had been a pasture ornament for the prior 6 years and was quite a project for me to take on. She was overweight, her feet were in bad shape from lack of regular trimming and her attitude was off the charts – Stubborn, smart and pushy. not to mention the fact that she hadn’t been ridden in years. Still, I liked her – a lot – and I was determined that we could work all this out. So, I was talking with my stepdaughter, who was my biggest adversary when I decided to buy this horse. She was on the show circuit and had another big handsome “turn-key” horse selected for me. Something “more suitable” and was upset that I had my own ideas about it. I was proudly telling her about the progress we were making when she made the following comment: “It was that horse’s lucky day when you found her”. My surprised heart soared with what I thought was a compliment on my horsemanship skills. The moment was short-lived when she finished her statement with: “Anyone else would have gotten rid of her a long time ago”. I will never forget how that comment made me feel. Sure, Guilty is not show horse quality, but she is a registered gorgeous dappled smoky buckskin quarterhorse with more personality and kindness than any other horse I have ever met. At first, my high took a nose-dive and my ego crashed and burned with disappointment. I was hurt and humiliated that she gave my opinion no value whatsoever and turned up her nose at my beloved horse. Then, over the course of the next few months, whenever that conversation came to mind, I started to get angry. Guilty wasn’t perfect then and certainly isn’t now but she reminds me a lot of myself. She is the safest horse I own. I do not hesitate to put my 2 year old grandson on her bareback and lead her around. I have put an 82 year old grandfather on her who had just had a hip replacement and literally took almost a full minute to pull himself up into the saddle and get situated. Guilty stood perfectly still while he struggled. She is the one that I get for small children or frightened adult riders. She is the best teacher for beginners because she demands respect and courtesy before she will comply. Guilty was the patient mount I rode to pony my young colt. When I shattered my ankle (an injury I endured while riding that same step daughter’s high dollar prize show horse, by the way), my first steps without my crutches were leading Guilty because I knew that if I stumbled she would bear my weight calmly and not panic if I fell. My first ride after that life-altering injury was on her back while I was still in my cast. She was the only one I trusted in my most vulnerable condition. It was Guilty who rebuilt my confidence.
It is Guilty’s eye on the front of the cover of Knowing Horses by Heart The heart in her pupil is real and not photo shopped. She has the most incredible smell.
Now, when I think about that comment, I can smile. Yes, maybe it was her lucky day when I found her, but really, who is the lucky one?