Horses and People Matching

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Chapter 6

Chapter 8

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Excerpts from the book.

Chapter 8

{Page 49}

We’ve talked about timid riders. We’ve talked about riders who are tense by nature of their character (the personality that they were born with) or riders who have been injured or nearly so and have been thwarted psychologically in their forward progress.

Now let us address an ever growing section of the populace (one to which I myself belong or will very shortly or may indeed already) the older equestrian.

Older equestrians are folks who have loved horses and usually have had them their entire lives, but as their body ages they are less and less inclined to do all the things that surround everyday horse activity. There are activities such as lifting bales of hay or bags of grain which may have been a mild or moderate workout in one’s twenties but as one grows older often times one diminishes in strength. It is not through lack of activity but nature and time are not completely with us as we age no matter how diligently we exercise. Then there is the more serious (and hard to delegate) question of a fall. Just a few months ago my dog ran out suddenly in front of my darling horse Gabriel. We tried unsuccessfully to avoid impact but the final result was a tangle of bodies on the ground. The dog I’m sure will be much more careful in the future about running suddenly across the path but all I could feel (as usual) was a wave of relief that my injuries were negligible. How much more relieved will I feel in ten years? In twenty years? Will there come a time where I say to myself “I can’t canter…or I can’t mount because the only people who fall off of horses are the ones who get on them?” I hope that this never crosses my mind (my plan is to get slower and slower DOGS and horses) but I can certainly understand the feeling of someone who does have compromised bones, or osteoporosis and fears the unplanned dismount.

There are many solutions to this problem. One is my personal plan: the very slow horse. The one with feet “like inverted buckets” and a back “like an easy chair.” If I am fortunate enough to find such a horse as my need arises I will latch onto this individual and value it as much as any horseman values a syndicated racehorse. I know I will meet this fine horse because I know what I am looking for and what I need. I love the way a Friesian moves and looks, I love the color bay, I love a Morgan (and I always have)…. But the individual that I may find to suit my senior years may be a leopard appaloosa for all I know! He may be a paint with two blue eyes! You have to always remember not to look too hard at the wrapper, it’s the individual inside that will bring you your peace joy and happiness. Once this horse is found his age is not a concern to me (mine isn’t to him!) If this horse is comfortable (not lame or in any degree of pain) then it really doesn’t matter if his teeth are all present or if his food has to be soaked in warm water prior to a meal. It doesn’t matter what other people think about the horse either, remember the person that you are trying to satisfy is yourself, and if you do accomplish that goal and satisfy yourself, think how kindly you will treat this wonderful horse who has brought you so much pleasure! Both of you are now champions! You will treat him as such because of the gratitude you feel for all that he gives you!

Laurel and Ruby

© 2007 Twombly Publishing.
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