Just call me “Mother of Draft Horses.”
Right on the heels of HN head editor Leslie Wylie experiencing a sort of mid-life crisis and buying a pony, I suddenly found myself in possession of a pair of Belgian draft horses.
The entire story is a little long in the retelling (if you’re really dying to know how on earth I managed to adopt a draft horse team, give a listen to this episode of Horses in the Morning) but the gist of it, for the sake of this story, is that Rocky and Randy and I go way back.
It’s difficult for me to both quantify and qualify the hours I spent either teaching total beginners how to drive a team of draft horses at the gentle mouths of these most patient animals, or the often-terrifying sets of circumstances I found myself in while at the lines myself, from driving onto the field at a homecoming football game to a truly emotionally-scarring day of Santa rides.
While I make a living writing words, I can’t adequately describe the complete and unwavering trust and love I have for these massive horses, and I firmly believe that there is something special in the heart of a full draft horse that sets them apart from other breeds. I’ve loved plenty of light horse in my lifetime, but there’s something a little deeper going on here.
Rest assured, I’m not planning on sacking any cities with Rocky and Randy in the near future … but I’m starting to truly understand how Game of Throne‘s Daenerys Targaryen must feel about her dragons.
Somehow, although aged geldings don’t generally grow, they seem WAY WAY bigger than I remember.
Parting with Rocky and Randy in 2014:
Seriously, am I shrinking???
Despite their horselike behavior and appearance, and generally gentle demeanor, there is something distinctly “other” about them: they have a certain presence that reminds you at once that they are not “just horses.” This is generally the reaction I get when people see them for the first time:
Randy needed stall rest after surgery last week (remember what I just said about doing anything for them?) and where one half of a team goes, the other half must also go.
The first time I rode these horses, this is pretty much what it looked like.
Especially because we weren’t sure if they had ever actually been ridden before. I climbed on, grabbed some mane and hoped for the best.
With these horses by my side, I’m pretty sure I can do anything.
Not in a literal sense, like burning cities to the ground, but in a more symbolic, emotional sense: Every lesson about responsibility, love, empathy and sacrifice that you learn from owning a horse is amplified tenfold with these two. With Rocky and Randy in my corner, anything is possible if I trust in them and believe.
Go draft horses.