My Old Horse

Buzzy and I have been good friends for 20 years. I rescued him from the harness racetrack in Saratoga as he was actually on his way to a can of dogfood. He was 8 and robust then, he’s 30 and tired now.

We don’t have too much more time together, but we’ve had a glorious ride! Crazy times, fun times, scary times, adventures, sickness, and more. Our bond was one of sickness and health when his jaw was broken after another horse kicked him. It had to be wired back together surgically, and he then got salmonella from the whole experience. I spent nights lying with him in his stall. An IV bag was slung over the stall door, and I desperately held his exhausted head in my hands, willing him to live. Despite blood like sludge and impossible white cell counts, just like my vet said, this was a horse that had life in his eyes, however dim it might be. Life won!

I could fill a book with our times together, and as I write this, I think I’ll do just that. But in the meantime, this is a photo taken yesterday of my boy he stretched his neck to get that last carrot in the bag.

The Little Standardbred Who Did

Buzzhy TeethHe is blind. He is wary, scared of anything that does not revolve in his orbit. This goes for simple things like a lazy ride in the park, or even hand-grazing in what is for him, another galaxy.

The blindness, though it seemed to erupt like a volcano, actually came on slowly. There was the constant tripping, the sudden predilection for spooking, the reluctance to ride into our normal and cherished places. Then, one day, he ran into a wall hard and fast, and it was clear that he could not see.

He has now adjusted, thanks to the patient and devoted care of our Barn Mom.  But there are changes. I can no longer just walk up and start petting him. When I groom him, I have to keep a hand on him as I move from one part of his body to another. We have to show him where his grain and hay are.  And I remain anxious that I won’t give him the cues he needs to stay on course and be confident.

But Buzzy is still Buzzy, and I am still me, and together we have 17 years of priceless memories:

  • Riding through the woods on snow-sparkling winter days
  • Riding on trails draped in maroons, oranges, yellows and greens – leaves lush with that musky smell reserved for fall days
  • Riding in shows where we brought up the rear, but had oodles of fun doing it.
  • And trying to canter, only to find out his canter was as lovely as that of any breed.

I thank you, Buzzy, for being the bright shining gem in the cherished memories of my life.

Buzzy’s Got My Number

100_2157Sigh. Yep – he sure does. I just got home from what I’d planned to be a Zen ride when it in fact ended up being a stressful ride.

Buzzy is my little former harness racehorse and for 10 years now, we’ve been working on understanding the word ‘slow.’ Actually, Buzzy is a complete contradiction in terms because at the walk he is my very own snail while at the trot, he goes like freight-train engine in fast forward. But today, when we did our ring work, he was phenomenal: I actually succeeded in getting a Western jog from him. His head hung nice and low, he propelled from his butt end, and he was comfy, slow, and smooth. Smooth is a big deal because Buzzy is NOT smooth – most of the time. Riding him is like riding in a car that is traveling on rocks, you know, like the commercials with those 4 x 4’s that climb mountains? Yup.

Like I said, today he was my own little cow-pony, and because he did so wonderfully well in the arena, I cut the drills short and headed for the trail. Let the fun begin. My Zen deteriorated into a ‘discussion’ into which I did NOT want to engage, but as it is with horses and riders, I really HAD to or I would be essentially handing the reins over to my horse.

Well, it wasn’t a complete victory – for me, that is –but enough that I felt I’d made my point – sort of.

And then, once again in my life, serendipity strikes. No sooner do I come home and collapse in front of my computer than I come across this: Your Best Horse Relationship: Discipline. In it you’ll find this quote, originally by Robin Shen:

If I discipline my horse, my horse will discipline me, but if I discipline myself, my horse will do the same. 

After watching this short flick, I cringe, thinking of kicking and yelling at Buzzy when he wanted to turn around and come home today.  Next time I need to find the key to exert my own self-discipline so Buzzy can then find his own key and keyhole.

I don’t believe in coincidences.

To be continued!