International Lesson Horse Day Essay Winner: Quinn

By Courtney Moss.

Photo by Shawn Ramey

Oh, the life of a lesson horse. They have knowledge to share, the experience to lean on and the willingness to be ridden by numerous students. I grew up around horses in a western discipline and as an adult re-rider I wanted to expand my horsemanship knowledge and looked into dressage, which led to eventing. Then I was in an accident, which resulted in my horse being euthanized and me in the hospital with a major concussion (a shattered helmet to prove it) and a fractured pelvis.

Trying to “get back on the horse” was hard but I was partnered per my trainer with the sassy 25 year old Welsh pony named Quinn to get my confidence back. It was slow going at first and the magic of animals is that they can read a person so well. Quinn would know when I was going to have a panic attack before I did. She would stop and plant herself until I had calmed my body back down (even as I was kicking her to move forward). Over the course of several months Quinn took me from only being able to do one lap around the arena at a walk to competing again and jumping 2 feet. The day that I cantered for the first time after my accident, I cried. I was so excited and grateful. Quinn helped me do that. Quinn helped me discover the fun in riding again.

Quinn showed me that hard work and determination to thrive always puts you in a position to succeed. She held my hand as I learned to walk again and gave me just enough sass as we progressed so that I was never stagnant. She knew the exact amount of challenge I needed to get to the next step as I found myself again.

I will always be grateful to the lesson horse who showed me kindness and helped me remember why I love horses and equestrian sports. There really is no other comparison to the level of teamwork needed to meld mind and body with a beast that can make decisions for itself.

Because of the sassy old lady named Quinn, I found Molly, my new personal horse. I still take Quinn out for trail rides and I’m so thankful for my struggle because without it I wouldn’t have the relationship I do with that special lesson horse.

“I love both of these photos for different reason but both show the joy that Quinn gave me.” Selfie by Courtney Moss

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