International Lesson Horse Day Essay Winner: The Jerk

By Mo Meyer.

Photo by Jean Cascio

You’re a jerk. A big, fat, lazy jerk. Pretend to be dying at the trot? Check. Do the drunken sailor stumble into the center of the ring while a bunch of people are watching? Double check. Cause insane levels of mortification in a grown ass, relatively well adjusted adult with no aspirations to showing? You betcha.

You’re a jerk. You’ve made me earn every little scrap of any gain I have ever made. More whoa then go is like your personal challenge. Walking forward in a straight line took what seemed like an eternity. An actual canter for a full trip around the ring? A small miracle took place to make that happen.

You’re a jerk. You don’t like just anyone and you let them know it. You’ll stumble to the center of the ring and then come to a dead stop. Not even a horse eating mountain lion could get you to move forward if you chose not to. You don’t like just anyone. But you like me. When we started to jump you did everything you could to keep yourself between me and the ground. You performed a small miracle of your own once or twice to keep me safe.

You’re a jerk but you stood quietly and let me cry in your mane when I was going through some very hard times and felt like I had no one else. You never once shied away from that, even though you almost dumped me once when you shied at a butterfly that had the audacity to land briefly on your ridiculous nose.

You taught me to be brave, even if only to help you be brave in the face of things like horse marauding butterflies. I learned to see the world a little differently because of you. More whoa then go may be your personal challenge, but kindness, forgiveness and fairness are your mantra. You reminded me that while a true friend is always there for you, they will also call you out on your flaws (including poor leg position, impatience, and general spasticness). A really great friend brings carrots.

You’re supposed to be a Quarter Horse but you’re more like a quarter chicken, quarter mule, quarter dog and a quarter horse. And you know what? I am too. I get scared at stupid things I can’t control and worry about totally ridiculous things. I can be stubborn and get ornery when things don’t go the way I think they should. The harder someone pulls, the more I dig in. I like to play with my friends, protect my family, and sometimes howl at the moon. The best of me though will work hard, keep myself between those I love and the ground, and thinks there are few things the world needs more than kindness, forgiveness, and fairness. A few more carrots and apples wouldn’t hurt either.

I moved and wasn’t able to take me with you, though I wanted to. Every new horse I meet now should thank you. You taught me to ride, to listen, and to understand. You’re a jerk. A big, fat, lazy jerk and I adore you.

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