I have five horses, all of which are rescues, and they are all wonderful. Each has a unique character, each talks to me loud and clear, and each is an integral part of my herd. Duke was the first that I rescued; a fabulous chestnut Warmblood out of Donnerhall, who although not a rescue in the traditional sense, still needed to be saved. Then came little Scamp, a beautiful dark bay Crabbett Arab, who had been so starved and neglected along with his herd that he was only eleven hands when he was saved, even though he was about eight years old. Ami joined us a few months later, a wonderful Swedish Warmblood, who had been battered relentlessly. My last addition was Spirit, Scamp's little sister, and when she came to us, she had a surprise on board. Tomoya is now two years old, and the most beautiful little lad.
For my forty-something birthday, my husband bought me a horse. Not any horse, but a great big, galumphing seventeen hand ginger-nut. And I fell in love, all over again. Even after over thirty years of being around horses! I felt over-horsed. This creature was totally magnificent. And he knew it. But he was desperate for love, for that one to one relationship that horses so desperately yearn for. And it took me age as to realize it.
The first mistake I made was putting him on full livery, on a yard full of professional know-it-alls. Not only was I doubting my own confidence and ability, but he was being looked after by someone else, and therefore looked to someone else for his little comforts in life. It took me eight months to realise what a big mistake I had made, so I moved yards, and started the voyage of discovery, learning about my horse, and letting him learn about me.
And what a voyage it has been: illnesses, accidents, traumas, trials, and tears. And yet six years later, he and I could not be closer. We talk, we play, we do things our way, we succeed in overcoming hurdles, and we are as close as any person and horse will ever be. When I found out my mother was dying of cancer, I buried my head in his neck, in that warm hollow where his neck meets his shoulder, and I cried. He stood still without moving for a minute or two. Then nudging me away, he licked the tears off my cheeks.
When he tore his side open on a gate, I held his head while the vet stitched him up, and it was his turn to wet my shoulder as he dribbled down the back of my t-shirt, the anesthetic making him into a huge big dopey horse. Whatever we do, we do it as one...