Right Rider for the Right Horse

With my love of music and dance, I had dreams of competing in the Musical Kur. Unfortunately, I never quite had the right horse. None of them moved like this.

The closest I got to this dream was my horse Finian. He was beautiful and certainly athletic enough, but he fought me on everything, every step of the way. I didn’t have the time or the right personality to deal with his attitude.

About 3 months after Finian was moved to our little hobby farm, he took off and bucked me off his back end, which resulted in a broken collar bone and wrist, and I had to get my head stapled closed.

That was pretty much the end of our 8-year relationship. I wasn’t able to trust Finian again, so he was sold to someone competing as a hunter jumper. When Finian tried to run away with his new owner, she let him run. She even asked him for more. He ran until he couldn’t run anymore and didn’t pull that garbage on her again. The right rider for the right horse; it’s important.

So here I am now, with a mutt-mix of quarter horse and Tennessee Walker.

It’s a combination that delivered a quarter horse with a pretty mane and tail, but also a horse that moves in confusion at times between being gaited and not being gaited. At times, he gets stuck in some odd gear that is terribly uncomfortable. And he’s a bit jumpy about monsters in the woods. But he tries and that counts for a lot.

There are certain animals that we bond with in a special way. And it’s not always something that happens immediately. With Luke, it took time for him to trust me. Luke came to me from someone who bought him at an auction. He was skin and bones and had rain rot. I was told he was 8 years old when I bought him. After a vet exam, I discovered he was actually 3.  No wonder he didn’t seem to know anything.

It took awhile for me to trust Luke and get over the fear from the Finian accident.  But even at Luke’s worst moments, his misbehavior came from fear, which for me was easier to deal with than having a horse that seemed to spend every waking moment trying to figure out what he could pull on me next.

Like I said, the personality of the rider and the horse have to be a good match or the relationship just won’t work. A good trainer can train all kinds of horses, but what I look for in a horse is a partner, not a challenge. And Luke and I are good partners.

Happy trails!

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  1. What a sweet story about Luke!! I can’t believe how skinny he was!! He is so lucky to have found you!
    I also truly believe that not every horse is right for every person. I have been so lucky that every horse I have ever owned has been right for me.
    Here’s to many more happy trails with you and Luke!

  2. Musical freestyle is one of my favorite things too. Watching it brings tears to my eyes…horses and music! I never liked showing, but I frequently rode to music and “pretended.” Luke certainly was a much better life with you, as does your other horse. Is your weather good now?

  3. Whenever I look back at that old photo of Luke, I can’t believe how bad he looked. That rain rot took awhile to get rid of.

    Lori – I’m with you on the showing, I never liked it either. Once I got my own outdoor arena, I was trying to figure out how to have music out there. I guess I could just carry my IPod in a fanny pack or something. I think it helps you work on rhythm and changing tempo when you’ve got some music to follow. Makes my heart soar too.

  4. Like is such a handsome boy! He looks wonderful now. I can’t believe he looked so bad. I believe horsed find us. It might just be short term, but it happens for a reason.

  5. I’ve never ridden horses but I can imagine how hugely important the rider-horse match is. It’s true in dogs too… that’s why certain ones really reach into our souls.

  6. I am so glad you have found your partner.

    I have had horses come to me and have to make it work, so far, so good.

  7. THe picture of you on LUke – awesome! Very nice.

    I’ve blogged about my Windy (My Dream Horse). She has tested me a lot and with another horse, I probably wouldn’t have stuck it out. The bond is there with her, though. Its been a heckuva ride but worth it all the way.

  8. You said: “but what I look for in a horse is a partner, not a challenge. And Luke and I are good partners.”
    Oh wow. Change Luke’s name to Apache, and Finian’s name to Baby Doll and you could have written this entire post about me and my horse ownership struggles. wow! wow!

    Truly you are spot on about finding the right rider for the right horse. I think horses do find you…and sometimes for the wrong reasons. I think I was meant to be a stepping stone for Baby Doll because her new owners send me updates about her and are in love with her. I think Baby Doll prefers men and is giving her all for her new cowboy rider. I’m glad that she’s got a better home than she had with me.

    But I wish I never had to get hurt over and over to finally convince me that I couldn’t make our match work. That I couldn’t just spend all the money and time in the world for training and lessons and that Baby Doll and I would be a partnership.

    We were like a bad marriage. Sad but true to admit that. And I was doing her no favors just deciding to keep her as a pasture pet since I didn’t trust her anymore.

    And when I finally sold her my heart and barn were finally open for Apache.
    I already love this mare, but she still has some trust issues due to the neglect and possible abuse she suffered through for year before she came here.
    But like you were saying, her issues stem from fear and distrust not from any evil agenda to fight with me all the time or kill me.

    Thanks for sharing your stories about Luke and Finian. It meant a lot to me.


  9. Oh poor Luke..he looks so thin and sad..I am so happy he found you..he looks just beautiful now. I know you are right about the partnership of a person and a horse..:)

  10. What people say about horses finding us (or dogs) I do believe to be true. I don’t regret any of the animals I’ve had, even if they didn’t quite fit me. There were always points were I learned a great deal from them. Finian and I were very close for awhile but then something just broke and I had to learn to let go because I wasn’t going to get it back again. Boy, I could be talking about a person here too…

    Lisa – I’ve picked that up from some of your posts that we’ve had a similar experience that we’ve had to mend from. I have complete confidence that you will get your mojo back. I can’t wait to read your post about the day that it all clicks into place.

  11. We’re all different and we all want different things from our horses and it’s a good thing we do. That makes a place for nearly any kind of horse, it’s just finding the right fit that counts.

    Sounds like Luke is a good fit for you and that you could see that from the start. It gave you both a good foundation to build on so it’s worked. That’s cool!

  12. Great post Maery! Luke is a great horse and a beauty. So glad you gave him a chance! It is a feeling like none other when you make that connection with the “right” horse.

  13. I should be doing other things but I am fascinated by your blog. Yep, I love horses too but I’m a bit afraid of them and some horses take advantage of that when I get near them. You have explained this now! Different personalities for different horses and people….I think it’s the same with friends too. Thanks and smiles to you!

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