I believe in the, ” heart horse” theory. I believe that as a horse owner, you can actually have a perfect horse that fits you. I believe that your heart horse is out there, it’s just dependent on knowing who you are, and if you can match your budget to your expectations. I also believe that you need to know yourself, your abilities, your goals, and if those are real assessments of who you are and what you need. I am on my second heart horse, not only did I get one, I have been blessed with two. I also have two others currently, that are heart horses in the making. I know there are riders that just will not buy into a heart horse theory, I am not one of those riders. Life is much too short, not to go out to the barn and to have a soulmate waiting. I want a horse that fits me, enjoys my company as much as I enjoy theirs, and is capable of being an athlete for my chosen sport. So where do I start, and what is my secret. I have no doubt many others have figured this out, but I will let you in on how it keeps happening for me.
I had a great dressage instructor in my twenties explain to me that buying a new horse was similar to getting married to a stranger. It would take at least a year, maybe two, before you both really got to know one another. You took the time to make it work for both of you. Even if it was not a great match, a really great horseman can and will make it happen. You know what, I married in my twenties. After 15 years of successful marriage to the same person ( that’s important, it’s been consecutive), thank goodness I started with someone I liked, as well as loved. That’s step one. Find a horse you like, that you enjoy, that at the end of the day you can find a friend in. Get a horse that matches your energy or compliments it, in some way that works. At the time, when my wonderful dressage instructor was telling me how it was an arraigned marriage, it did not click, that you could say no. You don’t have to choose an ill matched personality, just because down the road you can hopefully make the pieces of the puzzle fit. Start with the right horse, for you. Not the right horse for your friend, nor a fairy tale horse, or a horse that your trainer hopes to ride or show, but for YOU.
Find a horse that has the training, mileage, and experience that you can enjoy. My heart horses have been lazy, push rides, that are sane and safe with enough athletic ability that I can compete. In my younger years, I rode enough hot, crazy, stunningly beautiful, spirited, athletic above my sanity, Horse Illustrated cover models, that I decided in my thirties, those just were not the horses for me. After chipping a vertebrae in my late teens due to one of the above, stunningly beautiful horses, and riding high goal polo ponies as a groom in my twenties, I came to appreciate a sane, push ride of a horse. Most of my horses I buy unbroken, and I train with a helper for the first 30 rides. I compete my horses, and I am fine with just being a part of the show. I do not win, unless I am the only person in my class. If I had to pick between riding the lazy mare that tries, or the fire breathing dragon that wins, I happily go with the lazy one! Now, I could buy a winner that is sane to boot, but those are out of my budget. In order to stay happily married for another 15 years, I am unable to spend my son’s college funds on one of those horses. You might like a hotter horse, or a challenging horse, or a fancy horse, if you have the ability to ride it, that’s awesome. Just please, for the love of everything, make sure you can handle the octane and you do not get scared of it or injured. I see way too many horse owners that are over horsed and under skilled to enjoy it.
Last but not least, you heart horse need not be anyone else’s heart horse. You might enjoy a gaited horse to blaze the toughest of trails with. You might need a twenty year old western pleasure retiree that you can not beg to go faster than a slow jog. Your heart horse could possibly be a mini that brings you enjoyment from grooming and driving. You may have the budget for a really athletic show horse that a trainer can help you prep for shows and win ribbons on. You might want a heart pony, something with a cheeky personality that keeps every ride interesting or challenging. It’s up to you to decide what you need, and what is a fit for your level of experience. Hire a good, honest horse professional to help assist you in getting a heart horse if you lack the knowledge to find one. If you currently own a horse that is not a match, take lessons and see if it can be worked out, but if not, it might be the perfect horse for another person. That’s ok, do not feel guilty for getting into the wrong relationship. A heart horse, should be a horse that you cannot wait to go see and work with. It should be an extension of yourself that allows you to enjoy your time with them. A great heart horse, fits you. I also think that horses deserve their heart owner, and since they don’t get a say, be selective in it not only for you, but for them as well. It’s never too late, to have that one special horse. It keeps me going to the barn everyday, and loving every minute of it.
Written By Amanda Pearce. Share this on Facebook if you have a “heart horse”!