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We Are Flying Solo

December 17, 2012

Red Reloaded

Imagine my delight when I clicked over to SprinklerBandit this morning and saw my one true love not only pictured, but referred to as the original!  Now, he's hardly the first awesome red gelding, but he was certainly MY first awesome red gelding.

Her description of him (I was so flattered!  Thank you, SB!) got me thinking, as has rediscovering his quirks which had become instinct to me but are all new to his beloved new minion, Amber.  And laughing fondly about what makes him so unique, so amazing, and so maddening.

If you have an Olympic medal, I do not helmet boss you.  Although I think about it.
Like the fact that if you need to change something while you are riding, you are NEVER going to get a damn thing on a straight line.  That horse has never been truly straight in his life and never will be.  You have to use a bend or a transition or a step of leg yield or shoulder fore to unlock his body and ask for the change you seek.  This is why he actually got better scores as he went up the levels and his best test was Training B -- because there is not more than three steps in that test when you are not bending, changing gaits, changing within gaits, or changing direction.

Like the fact that while you will work yourself into a sweat lathered frenzy getting him to trot FORWARD (you better be fit!), if you dig in your heel or spur when asking for the canter, you WILL be doing airs above the ground while Mr. Shiny expresses his disgust with your overzealotry.  Ask Amber about that one.

Like the FOUR YEARS it took me to get this kind, quiet gelding not to rear, bolt, shake, or run at the sight of a longe whip and the slow melting of fear into a trust that I wondered at times if I would ever get.

Like the fact that he HATES it when you hug his head or neck, or you pet his nose, but if I stand still, his expression of affection is to just rest his muzzle against me and I feel the incredible energy flow between us in that touch.

Like the fact that when most horses jig or get antsy on the trail, you just ask them to work (i.e. shoulder-in, get on the bit, etc) and eventually they give in and decide walking is easier.  Solo, on the other hand will NEVER. GIVE. IN.  Ever.  He will trot sideways, bowed up against the bit for two hours in 90 degree heat, his ears very clearly saying, F U, lady, the whole time.  Even if it is so hot blood starts to come out his nose, he's not stopping and you will have to get off or make him walk backwards so he doesn't kill himself before you make it home.  Then, he is such a tough bastard that you hose him off and 15 minutes later, he's brightly eating grass like nothing happened.

Yeah! We jumped the ditch!  Oh....crap.
Like the fact that he hated dressage so much, that after a test halt at a HT one day, the judge said to me, "Wow, he really doesn't like dressage, does he?"  Ever so subtle, my redhead.  Yet the day he discovered extended trot and every time I asked for it thereafter, he engaged his hind end and sprung forward with, dare I say, joy, floating powerfully over the ground with his face lit up like a candle.

Like the fact that you better keep your head in the game.  If you slack off and say, celebrate after leaping the ditch, or get excited and pitch your shoulder at him, you either ain't jumping at all or you jumping by yourself!

For those and a hundred other reasons, yes, there is such a thing as Mad Solo Love.  It's been almost seven years and now we just read each other's minds, but that same lightning bolt that hit the first time our eyes met strikes over and over again each time I arrive at the pasture gate.  He taught me things I thought I already knew about heart and patience and trust and courage.  And then, just to make sure, he would teach me again.

To this day, he will STILL test me one way or another every time I get on.  And to this day, it will still make me giggle at his huge personality.  And even though he is out of shape and he will never quite recover from his back injury, I will fall in love with him all over again every time he tries his damndest to give me the best canter he can or jumps a 12" crossrail with two feet to spare.

I wish on everyone a horse (you don't even have to own it) so special that he opens a door in your heart you didn't even know was there and changes you forever.

11 comments:

  1. Airs above the ground huh? Is that what we were doing? It felt like a really bad see-saw ride. Still have Mad Solo Love...he tolerates my mistakes but clearly communicates that it was my mistake, lol!

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  2. Sigh. Yet another beautiful moment I failed to capture on video. I'm sucking at this.

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  3. What a lovely loving post for Solo!

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  4. I love the last picture of Solo and I love that a special horse can make his special person laugh and love him all over again.

    I get it. Big time.

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  5. Spoken like a true mother. :-)

    We ALL wuvs your Original Redhead, and the other one, too.

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  6. I love this description of your Redhead. I don't know what it is about the red heads but they sure have their own set of rules. I am crazy in love with my red mare. She was a wild maniac when she was younger. I like to think that it was my training that made her the calm sensible thing she is today. I think the reality is that after 11 years she has just taught me the rules of Red Mare and as long as I follow them she is happy to be agreeable.

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  7. Hahaha, Super Ponies, I think you are right -- we hash out all our lines and once the dust settles, we're good!

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