Looking back over the past six years with my horse, Carter Joe, it is apparent how we both have changed. Although I have began to ride him frequently over the past few months, he has certainly matured and is just a well behaved animal. And he remembers all that I taught him.
I brought him home on a cold night January 2004. He was put in a pen with a small barn up close to the house where he trotted and nickered much of the evening. The mare stood at the gate and studied him for two days. I brought him out each day to lunge him, groom him and get him accustomed to the place and us. He was already broke but not finished. He let me do just about everything I needed to do to him. On my birthday, I saddled him up and sat on his back.
Since that time he’s been to the trainer, I in lessons. We’ve gotten through Level 1 Parelli and are still working on Level 2. Shortly after my promotion in 2005, I traveled and was home from work only on the weekends. This left little time with the horse although I must say that I had participated in many conference call from the round coral.
Pregnancy came in 2008 and I rode until the end of the year. It had been about a year before I got back on him. The summer of 2010 had been so hot, there was no time made for any riding. He is a bit lazy and will be a bit trying at times but we simply go back to the basics. And it is fun again.
Last weekend, I arrived very early to ride and photograph my sister-in-law on her horse. Afterwards, around 9:30, I took him down the driveway to the gravel road. Normally there are 50 dogs that come running at you from all directions from our neighbor’s homes all clustered right there on the curve. But that day there was none. It was dead quiet. Not even a breeze blowing through the trees. It seemed quite surreal.
I noticed something about my horse I had not seen in this environment. He was extremely calm, and very relaxed. Often when we go to the end of the driveway he has his Arabian stance–ears erect, arched neck, checking out everything and very focused on anything new. I led him onto the road and let him walk in a full circle. He did look around, but lowered his head and walked long next to me as if he’s done this a million times.
Some of my readers who are horse people will say, “what’s the big deal?” My response, “this is a major contrast from where he was a few years ago. I felt so confident in his behavior that I would have hopped on his back with nothing more than his training halter and rode him down to the neighbors and back. He was just so at ease.
Carter has fully grayed out since he joined our family. He is a flea-bitten gray though, but kept his dark points. I see him all the time in the pasture and up near the house when we bring him up for fun. He just appeared more beautiful then ever before when we strolled in the bright morning sun. I wanted it to last.
Now that the weather has cooled off, I look forward to more rides and fun with him along with my sister-in-law and her beautiful quarter horse mare, Lucky.