When I was a little girl I was fortunate enough to have been able to learn how to ride a horse. And I, like most little girls, fell in love for the first time.
I am old enough to remember the excitement that surrounded one of the greatest athletes of the last century – equine or not – a magnificent horse called Secretariat.
There is nothing that can be written about this miracle on four legs that could ever do him justice. He was majestic, he was beautiful, he was capable and he won what is called the Triple Crown, the three most important races in American racing (The Preakness, the Belmont Stakes and the Kentucky Derby). There have been movies made about him, books written, but the sensation that this horse made at the time is something that can not be described. (Although ESPN did a very good job in this video). (More recently, another beautiful equine named Barbaro was thought to be able to hold up to Secretariat, but he was felled early by an injury … perhaps due to over-breeding, perhaps just a misfortune of nature. When Barbaro was put down, horse-owners and horse-lovers around the world mourned…)
There is something about horses, and horse-racing that – even if you’re not what racing people call a ‘gamer’ (someone who bets), you have to be impressed, you have to hold your breath, you have to admire these animals who just love to run.
My love for horses has never abated, although as I got older, my love was matched with an equaled sense of awe, bordering on fear. I have fallen off, been thrown off, slid off, but no matter what happened, I have always managed to get back on the horse. For me, riding has always been a way of meeting one of my fears head on: I don’t always manage to do well, but no matter how well or poorly I ride, I (almost) always feel better after getting off my mount. Most likely, that accounts for the fact that we always have a fair number of horse-related posters in the gallery. Whenever I show them, they make me happy – they remind me of some of the happiest times I have ever had, on the back of a horse.
These days, my favorite horse is Hawaii. He is unfailingly polite, a gentleman on four legs, and he has a wonderful sense of humor. (When I stand in front of him, with my back towards him, to tend to his polos – the wraps that need to be rolled after every ride – he snorfles the back of my neck, nudges my shoulders, and inevitably takes off my headband with the tips of his teeth. Then he spits the headband out on the floor, and looks down his magnificent head at me, and smiles. He does! I swear. Every time.)
A Letter From Your Horse (Author Unknown)
When you are tense,
Let me teach you to relax.
When you are short-tempered,
Let me teach you to be patient.
When you are short-sighted,
Let me teach you to see.
When you are quick to react,
Let me teach you to be thoughtful.
When you are angry,
Let me teach you to be serene.
When you feel worried,
Let me calm your fears.
When you feel superior,
Let me teach you to be respectful.
When you are self-absorbed,
Let me teach you of greater things.
When you are arrogant,
Let me teach you humility.
When you are lonely,
Let me be your companion.
When you are tired,
Let me carry the load.
When you need to learn,
Let me teach you.
After all, I am your horse.