A True Story About Myself And That One Horse That Changed My Life!
As a young girl i became infected with the "horse virus". Maybe sooner then that i could walk, i was sitting on a pony from the neighbours. From that moment on i knew this was gonna be a life-changing thing for me, and so it all started. When i was about 9 or 10 years old, my father considered to buy me my first pony.
I will never forget the moment he came home with a brown little gelding with a white spot on his head. If i think about it now, i still get the tears in my eyes. I was so happy! All of my time i was spending on this brown little pony. In my world he was the best,the sweetest and most beautiful creature in the world. Okay, his head was a little to big for his body, and his feet where a little silly but for me he was my biggest friend.
Unfortunately, "Jelle" had different thoughts about our relationship, and soon this sweet pony became a monster. He was biting at me, kicking when i tried to climb in the saddle, and bucked me off like a space rocket. At that point,my learning proces began..
"UNFORTUNATELY LITTLE GIRLS GROW FAST"!
Soon my father choose safety before action, and we bought another pony. Now i know, it wasn't the fault of the pony, but that is something you don't know when you are that unexperienced with horses. "Jelle" found a nice new rider who had the "balls" to get the conversation started with him,and that worked out pretty good for both.
My new pony was a another dream come true. It was a petit brown mare with the attitude of Merlin Monroe but as sweet as candy. "Furly" was my new best friend at the age of 14. This little lady dragged me to my teenage years, and all of my free time i was spending with her.
She loved me as much as i loved her. We won time after time in the competitions. Even when we didn't tried that hard, the judges always placed us first. Unfortunately, little girls grow fast and before i start hitting the floor with my legs, we decided to bought a real big horse and to find a nice home for "Furly".
"A JOB WITH HORSES WAS THE BEST THING FOR ME"
Of course, at that age you think you know the world about riding, horses and how to win every single match. Wake up call..that's not true. Once you make the step from a pony to a horse, the learning starts all over again because it's a really different cookie!
The movements of a pony are so different than the movements from a horse, that it feels like you must run a marathon in to big shoes. After 10.000 of lessons with good (and several different) coaches, we got the right spot on again and all seemed to go in a flow. We won, we practiced, we lost and we won again.
At he age of 17 when my school was finished, i moved heaven and earth to convince my mom and dad that a "job with horses" was the best thing for me to do with my future, but my parents thought otherwise. "Go study, keep the horses as a hobby because you don't earn any money with it, it only costs money"!
"THAT BROKEN WAS NOT THE PROBLEM...BUT IT WAS MY BACK"
Where they right? Hmm... yes and no. At this point i can say that they were right in some kind of things, but i'm glad that i don't missed it and that i followed my dreams. As soon as i turned 18 there was a jumping stable in the middle of the country that was hiring.
They were searching for a rider for young and experienced horses, and i thought i would fit in perfectly. I was right because a month later they hired me as their rider. I had my own little cosy tiny house at the stables, and that family was really as my own.I worked there for about 4 years with a lot of pleasure.
I had the chance to ride several different horses. Younger horses, unexperienced horses that had to learn everything and horses that were at the highest level of dressage and jumping. In my last year i had a terrible accident with a younger horse that needs to be broken under the saddle.
That "broken" was not the problem, but it was my back.. and not the horse. I had to recover for about 6 months and i thought i was never gonna be able to sit on a horse again. My dream was splattered in 1000 pieces.
"I STARTED MY OWN STABLE WITH ONE HORSE"
After i was recovered from the broken back, i had to learn to walk, ride and think positive again.This was the scariest period in my whole life. Nothing was for sure anymore. I worked hard, exercised everyday and was trying to see the positive things in life again. What brought me here? Right, horses!
My recovery was going well and soon i was riding again. I started with the brave horses to get some of my trust back again, and it worked. Of course i had to give up my job at the stable, so i was thinking about starting for myself. And so i did. I started my own stable with one horse.
Soon people knew the way to my stable and they brought in horses for training and selling. I ran my own stable for about 15 years and in that time hundreds or maybe thousands horses came by. Expensive horses, cheaper horses and horses with bad habits. I trained them for a while and when i thought they where ready, i sold them.
"ALSO IN THIS WORK YOU LEARN TO SAY GOODBYE"
From every horse you learn. A horse is a real personality with their own habits, characters and emotions.It's so much fun to work with an animal who has their own kind of acting. Every day is different when you work with horses. It sounds like a cliche, but it's true. Also in this work, you learn to say goodbye.
In the time a horse was in my stable i was good for them. They get the best feed, the best training and a lot of love and care. When a horse was ready to go to his new owner, i had no bad feelings about that. I learned to say goodbye because i trained them so they were ready for a new fantastic future with a new owner and rider. Until that one horse came by. That one horse this article is all about..
"I JUST STOOD THERE STARING AT HIM"
A few years ago a man called me to inform me that he has a very special horse for me. This was not "just a horse" this one has all the quality of the world, except one thing. His character. I decided to jump in my car and take a look on this special horse as he says.
After 30 minutes i arrived by the men who has sold me several nice horses over the years, so i trusted him when he said that this was something special. As soon as i walked in the stables my eyes saw a beautiful dark brown horse with a neck as thick as a tree. (horse people like big necks).
His big eyes where staring at me and i saw in an eye blink that he has an attitude from here to hell. He had a little white spot on his head, and a small white spot on his foot. His head was tiny and very nice shaped with small ears. I just stood there staring at him and i could not find the words to tell the men what i was thinking. The only thing i thought in myself was, " okay..don't be to enthousiast..think about the price..."
"HE DOESN'T WANT TO WORK, HE IS NUTS!"
I never saw such an amazing mind blowing beautiful horse in my entire life. The men took the horse out of the stable to show him to me. Everything i'd like to see in a horse i saw in this one. Nice long legs and movements like heaven.
The men told me that this was a special one, except his character, what could be so bad i thought? "He is a real pain in the ass" the men said. "He doesn't want to work" and things like "this one is really nuts". Not really a nice comment if you want to sell a horse.. "Okay, saddle him up" was the only thing i could say.
I was so curious that i climb up the horse immediately, without asking if someone else could ride it first so that i could see what this horse was all about. After i got in the saddle, i felt it directly. The horse blocked right away and i was not able to get my legs around him to go forwards.. He was bucking and roaring like a pig! I never heard a horse scream like a pig, but this one did..!
"WITH THE RISK OF MY OWN LIFE, I BOUGHT HIM"
After several minutes i succeed in getting him around the arena, and between the bucking, screaming and roaring in i fell in love with his looks and his attitudes. This was going to be a risk of a lifetime but i was sure i could cure him. He really was dangerous and i felt the anger of him.
He was so angry and disappointed about something, after so much years experience with horses you just know. With the risk of my own life, i bought him. And on the way home i was thinking about if i'd made the right decision in buying this crazy horse, but it was to late for me, it was love at first sight!
"Lamour" was his name, and in the first days it was nothing less then "Lamour". I gave him time to fit in, to get one with the structure at the stable and to have some rest. Before i bought him he had 12 owners in 2 months, so i think you can imagine how that felt for him. After a week i decided to saddle up.
I was shaking because the picture of riding him a week ago was still fresh in my mind. Would he behave like a pig again? Belief me, he did... After 5 minutes he kicked me of and before i knew what was happening, he kicked at me as i was lying in the arena sand.
Like a Vietnam warrior i struggled my way out of the arena before he kicked me to dead. I was like a puppet on his string and i had to run for my life! And then he stood there. Staring at me like before with the steem was coming out of his nose. His eyes where like fire as if he was came down frown hell to come and get me. "Okay..you won this one"
"OUR BOND WAS SO STRONG, NOTHING COULD SEPARATE US"
After that there was a very very long way of training, trying, falling off, bucking, roaring like a pig and of misunderstanding. My family almost forbid me to step up again, but i was so trying to understand what his problem was. And one day, it all worked out.
Things were falling into place between us. I was nice to him, and he became nicer to me. I could ride him, almost as normal as another horse. Almost i said.. Our bond was so strong, nothing could separate us anymore. After a year i knew exactly how i must ride him, i knew all of his struggles and most important of all, we knew each others mindset.
If i was sad, it was better to give Lamour a day of. If he was sad, so did i. He was a mirror of my mind, and vice versa. I never felt so much love for a horse as for this one. He definitely was a personality and he is till today. Today we are competing in the highest level of dressage and he seems to like it.
We make compromises, yes we do, and that's how it should be. He changed the way i think about horses, he changed the way of my riding and how i train my horses today. I could not find a better coach or teacher than him, and for sure that one horse changed my entire life!
I'm looking forward to your comments or questions!