On the 17th of October 2010, I went to see about a horse. I was only recently back from 15-months overseas, and I didn’t have the money or really the inclination to buy a horse, but I was looking for something to ride. When I heard from a friend about an available free lease on a 6 year old Welsh Cob x Thoroughbred, green-broken but good-natured, sensitive but sensible and just in need of some mileage, I thought I’d go check him out. I looked at a couple of photos and a video or two online, and arranged with his owner to see him at a show that weekend.
Just over one year later, not long before Christmas 2011, I bought him.
As JJ and I approach four and a half years together (hard to believe it’s been that long!) I can look back and remember the horse I once had, and compare him to the horse I have now.
The horse I had in 2010 was nervous about meeting strange horses, and would hide when new horses came into his paddock.
The horse I have in 2015 thinks the whole world is there to admire him (horses and humans) and has to be locked away so that he doesn’t pester incoming horses by trying to impress them with his striking looks and vibrant personality.
The horse I had in 2010 didn’t like going out for rides on his own, and wouldn’t canter more than six strides down the beach before getting tired.
The horse I have in 2015 doesn’t like going for rides with other horses as they cramp his style by making him stick to their pace, and will canter a full kilometre down the beach without breaking into a trot.
The horse I had in 2010 couldn’t cope with having his ears touched, and would take between ten and twenty minutes to bridle every day.
The horse I have in 2015 falls asleep when I pull his forelock, and is easy to halter and bridle.
The horse I had in 2010 was hard to catch, and had to be haltered carefully so he didn’t take fright at any pressure on his poll.
The horse I have in 2015 whinnies when he sees me and comes up to me in the paddock.
The horse I had in 2010 couldn’t canter a 20m circle – the closest we got was about 40m in the first few weeks! – and struggled to pick up his canter leads.
The horse I have in 2015 will canter 10m circles, perform effortless flying changes and walk to canter transitions, and is starting to school towards canter pirouettes.
The horse I had in 2010 was just learning to jump, and would frequently run out if he was slightly unsure about taking a fence.
The horse I have in 2015 is a consistent winner in Show Hunter competitions (7 wins from 9 starts this year), and will willingly tackle any obstacle – not only jumps but shrubs, bathtubs, barrels, road cones, wheelbarrows, mounting blocks, etc.
The horse I had in 2010 didn’t know what hard feed was.
The horse I have in 2015 knows exactly what hard feed is, and thinks he should get much more of it.
The horse I had in 2010 thought life was a bit of a worry.
The horse I have in 2015 thinks that life is an awfully big adventure.
The horse I had in 2010 belonged to someone else.
The horse I have in 2015 is mine.