The past year has been so full of youngsters, rescues, rehabs and the rebuilding of my practice, I’ve had little time to spend with my best horse Manny. He’s 15 this year and we’ve been together for over 10 years now. He’s the type of horse now that remains reliable even after a lengthy period of time off. He wasn’t always like that and we’ve had our fair share of differing opinions, outright arguments and plenty of wrecks….mostly the type where I am on the ground with him glaring at me from above. Being a very alpha horse, he knows how to make his point. I’ve learned from him over the years how to be a confident leader and a sympathetic rider, more partner than master and we have come to appreciate each other immensely over the second half of the past decade. I think of him more as Mensa than horse. We have a magnet between us…when I see him at the gate, I have to walk over and rub his muzzle. When I am working in the pasture, he is always at my shoulder. What was once a loud, rowdy argument, is now a peaceful connected agreement.
Its the type of relationship you don’t see too much anymore….the product of hardwork and mutual respect…solidified through fire. I had many friends try to convince me to get rid of Manny in the early years, afraid I was going to be hurt seriously. But I’m pretty stubborn and so was Manny…we simply had to negotiate the rules of our partnership on our own terms and in our own time. The process wasn’t always pretty, but I am a better person today and he a better horse because of that rocky start together.
Every year Manny and I go camping down near the Cape at Myles Standish State forest with friends. We’ve been going for 6 or 7 years now. It is generally my favorite vacation of the year. This year was even more lovely as Manny and I got to spend some quality time together for a change. The weather was perfect. Our rides were spectacular! We did some swimming, explored new trails and galloped through Cutter Field a dozen or so times…exhilarating!
Our down time was spent around the campfire, relaxing, reading or just telling stories. Manny would stand by the fence as close to us as possible and snooze. He had the softest expression I’ve ever seen, all week long. He genuinely appear to be happy to have me all to himself. It was time without the distraction of young horses needing exercise, the sick and injured requiring care or the neverending farm ‘to do’ list. There was enough quiet to reflect on all the amazing stuff we are now able to do together and all the crazy adventures along the way. Time spent reconnecting is a beautiful thing for any relationship…be it animal or human. I recommend it highly!
I was witness to some of the early “mishaps” and I often wondered about him. But he is, and always has been the most beautiful horse I have ever seen, inside and out.