A Valentine For ‘My’ Horse’s Actual Owner

Kristen Kovatch takes a moment to honor a special person in her horsey life.

Allen and Red. Photo by Kristen Kovatch Bentley.

Allen and Red. Photo by Kristen Kovatch Bentley.

To Allen Peterson of Peterson Farm, my grandfather-in-law, farm owner and the guy who actually owns the horse I’ve essentially stolen from you:

I love your old-school self-taught horsemanship, that kind of old American ingenuity that allowed you to just saddle up and go for a ride and not worry about things like correct diagonals or whether your horse is tracking up as nicely as he should or if he should maybe start getting a multivitamin supplement, you know, just in case.

I love the old stories you tell and retell, like the day you decided to see how far that crazy pinto could run before he got tired or that time the farm vet told you that it was impossible for just you on Old Chico to round up the runaway steers in the woods by yourself or the old harness trails that used to crisscross the forest where the interstate now runs.

I love your faith that I can fix whatever new issue crops up with Red the Cow Pony, from a mild case of rain rot to his explosive bronco maneuvers last weekend, especially when I’ve totally lost faith in myself.

I love that you humor me when I start planning things like fancy indoor wash stalls and permanent roundpens in your front lawn (to be fair, I did ask for permission before I lunged Red there and dug a giant trench in the soft turf and you said it was okay).

I love that you told me “go work those horses” on the first day that I moved here, when I was still just your grandson’s girlfriend and you had met me maybe three times before then. And that you hired a work crew to build me a tack room on the second day, and bought a dump-truck full of new sand for an arena.

I love that you good-naturedly let me steamroll all over your farm that’s been in your family for two generations now, getting after your employees to mend fences, fix gates, fill in mud puddles and tighten loose boards because I “run a tight ship.”

I love that you laugh when I say that Red is “my” horse when he’s behaving well and “your” horse when he’s terribly naughty.

I love the one or two days a year you can finally get away from the farm to ride your horse, and we all saddle up and head out to the pasture together.

Allen and Red... in the rain. Photo by Kristen Kovatch Bentley.

Allen and Red… in the rain. Photo by Kristen Kovatch Bentley.

Thank you, Allen.

Go riding!

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