Reader Kalin C., a self-professed “horse crazy girl” and blogger at sittinginthesaddle.blogspot.com, shares the story of how she met her first horse/best friend Red.
Red and I’s story began in July of 2012. This was not the first time we’d met, but it was the first time I had really noticed him. He had been in my family for a good few years, but I hadn’t really paid attention to him and had never ridden him.
Red belonged to my Aunt. After financial difficulties, she had to re-home most of her horses. Red had to go. We all decided to go on a trail ride on one of the sandy, beautiful trails in Florida. My mother and stepfather decided to take a look at Red and, if we seemed to click, they were going to find a way to take him. We didn’t have good enough property, so we knew we’d probably have to board him, but after YEARS of wanting, begging, crying for a horse, my mother finally decided I was ready.
I had NO clue about this–I just thought I was going to go on a trail ride. We got to my Mamaw’s house, where Red and the other horses lived, and my cousin, also a rider, handed me a halter and a lead and told me to go out and see if I could catch him. I happily climbed over the gate and held out a hand, trying to get this huge horse over to me.
I was nervous. He looked at me, breathed out loudly, then he took off. He ran away from me, and after about 10 minutes of him running like crazy my cousin came in to help. We had to corner him in the round pen to get the halter on. I put the halter on and took one look in his eyes and I felt something I had never felt. He nuzzled my hand as I struggled with the halter, and I led him over to the cross-ties.
Red looked pretty rough due to skin allergies. My aunt had tried everything to help him, but we all agreed that a change of climate would be best. He was scabby and going bald. Florida weather did NOT agree with him. It was making him lose weight and he wasn’t really a good looking horse, yet my first words about him were, “He’s beautiful,” and I continued my grooming.
My cousin helped saddle him up so we could ride a little before we went on the trails and I was so, so, so nervous. I had just seen this horse buck and go semi-insane, and I was really intimidated. I didn’t let it show. We rode around in a couple circles–he tried to ram my leg into the fence a couple times, then decided to take it easy on me, I guess, because he went really slow and careful. After that, we were off to the trails.
Red was such a gentleman the whole time, even when the flies bothered him. He was stubborn, but that’s just Red. We had to stop at one point and he literally fell asleep with me on his back. That’s a sign of trust, correct? I think so.
We finished the ride and went back to my grandparents’ house. Mom told me they were selling him, and I literally cried. She said they already found him an owner, and I wanted him. Mom told me to stop sulking about it so much. She didn’t want it to ruin my vacation, but I couldn’t let it go. At the end of the vacation, before we went home, mom and step-dad took me to go see him and say goodbye. I was a little curious about this, but didn’t think a thing of it. I cried a little more when I said goodbye. And guess what? He walked right towards me this time. No running.
About a week later, I was told that I was the new owner. I REALLY cried then–I looked like one of those little girls in the videos on YouTube when they get their first surprise horse. We had just arrived at church when she told me, and I told EVERYONE about it. I also cried more.
After months of waiting, Red was delivered to Tennessee in a huge, long horse trailer. It had to be parked in a neighbor’s driveway–they walked out to see him and I saw them tear up a little when I happily grabbed the lead and welcomed him home. My horse was home. I sobbed at the trailer, tried to fight back tears, but all I could think about was our future!
The next month proved to be really hard. His skin looked bad, so we had that to deal with. He got really hyper because of the food we were having to give him and I couldn’t ride him. Then, as we were tacking him up for a ride, he started falling. There was a time that we thought we would have to find him another home, and that week was the hardest week I’ve ever gone through. Our property was not working, and he was getting WAY too crazy for a first-time horse owner. Thankfully, we calmed him down and found a wonderful place to board.
I hadn’t seem him run since that day in Florida. When he got to Tennessee, he just didn’t feel good. But when he saw the other horses at the barn, he whinnied and took off towards an elderly pony there and he acted like a horse again. My mom and I both sat there and cried. As I was leaving, I was worrying about our bond that we had started to form. Would all of that go away now that other people would be working with him and he had other horses around? My fears were gone though, when he saw me leaving, he cantered to the gate and neighed at me, shook his head and walked over to me, letting me get close. It was like he was telling me he still loved me.
Red is truly my best friend, and I don’t know what I’d do without him. We’ve both had a fairly long journey, and we’re both home when we’re together.
About the author: Kalin C. is the proud owner of an 11-year-old Quarter Horse and has aspirations to one day show in Ranch or Western Pleasure. She writes her own blog, sittinginthesaddle.blogspot.com, about the daily struggles of a first-time horse owner, young horseback rider and as always, her huge horse!
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