Each week we feature reader-submitted stories about horses that have gotten them “back on track” after a rough patch. Today Victoria Henderson shares the story of her horse, Jinx.
When I was 15, my family was graciously gifted my first horse: a late-gelded, 4-year-old, off-the-track Arabian. Not the ideal first horse for anyone, but he was my first and only horse for the next six years. I was dumped at jumps, bucked off, run away with, and all of the things you’d imagine would happen to a green rider on an even greener horse. I even changed disciplines trying to find a happy relationship with my horse under saddle.
Fast forward to 2011, I’d really lost interest in riding. It was more like a chore instead of a hobby. I was nervous in the saddle in general, and you could forget about jumping—my confidence was totally gone. At 21 with a steady job, I decided I would look for a horse that was maybe more apt to be a hunter horse. I started casually horse shopping, and spotted a 2-year-old OTTB on CANTER. I drove three hours to look at him, trotted him in hand, and decided he was cute enough so I put a deposit on him.
I know what you are thinking at this point: Why on earth would I buy another young horse off the track, especially without riding him first? But there was just something about him…
I admit I was nervous during our first few rides together. A young OTTB was probably (definitely) not the smartest decision I ever made.
Amazingly, he had this incredibly calm demeanor, especially under saddle. He is the definition of “kick-along quiet” and “bomb proof.” I’ve had Jinx for three years now. It has been the most rewarding experience of my life. He’s ignited my passion for riding and showing. We do everything together from showing in the hunters, to trail riding, to cross country schooling. I’ve even ridden him on the beach, and through downtown Richmond, Virginia, for a benefit ride.
Before Jinx, the thought of even trotting a single cross rail was terrifying. Now, we show in the local 2’6” divisions, with hopes of moving up as he gets older and more experienced.
I took a huge chance when I bought him, but I won the lottery in terms of temperament. He gives me confidence, and gives me passion and purpose in life.
Here at Horse Nation, we believe that the best therapists are our own horses. We love sharing the stories of special equines and the lessons horses have taught us — email yours to [email protected] to be featured in an upcoming edition of Back on Track “Horse Therapy.” Go Back on Track, and Go Riding!