“The horse is a mirror to your soul.” Well, at least my horse is MY mirror.
Buck Brannaman once said, “The horse is a mirror to your soul. Sometimes you might not like what you see. Sometimes you will.”
Although I am quite confident the impetus behind Brannaman’s statement was one of deep meaning that has to do with your horse reflecting your emotions, moods, inclinations and a number of things of which you aren’t even aware, sometimes I think my horse is literally and explicitly my mirror.
This goes to the most basic things. For instance, sometimes we have the same hair color. She’s a chestnut and, depending on the time of year and my stylist, so am I.
She looks much more pleasant than I in this picture, but come on. Our hair is the same color and even our body positions match. We’re looking at the same thing with mild interest.
Her being a reflection of me is furthered by our less-than photogenic tendencies.
I feel like, in theory, I have the potential to look like a somewhat normal, even refined person. I have a fairly straight nose, a strong jaw and a resting — ahem — mare face that can compete with the best of them. However, get a camera out and most of the time I look something like this:
My horse has the same thing going for her. She’s a big-boned Thoroughbred who, despite a little asymmetry in her face, has the potential to be the epitome of the stately steed. Instead, she looks like this more often than not:
Yup, that’s my horse.
When I’m not looking like the ermahgerd girl, I usually look like I am ready to cut someone. Like, actually.
On a regular basis, my husband asks me if there’s something wrong because I “just look mad.” Other people always ask what they’ve done to offend me. Although I reassure them that I’m not mad and apologize for seeming like I am, I think to myself, “This is just my face!” This is further exacerbated when I am concentrating. See below:
Make a note — the horse pictured in the photo above is not my horse. That’s why she doesn’t look mad. And in case you didn’t get the full effect, this is my face:
Mac, my mare, seems to have the same affliction. Like many of my fellow equestrians, I send photos of my horse to my friends all the time. All. The. Time. (Because they totally need to see pictures of the animal I love on a regular basis, right?) A recent photo of my relaxed mare — or so I thought — prompted one of my friends to comment how she always looks irritated.
Photo by DeAnn Long Sloan
She doesn’t even have a full-on mare glare. She just generally looks like you’re bothering her. That’s just her face. It’s resting mare face.
I feel you, Mac. I feel you.
Our similarities do not end with our looks, unfortunately. Due to some minor conformational defects and subsequent injuries, I am pretty chronically lame on my left leg. Two blown out ACLs, torn and resected meniscus and a bit of arthritis keeps me on a maintenance regiment of ibuprofen and regular visits to the physical therapist.
My mare, although no cruciate ligament injuries (**knocks on wood repeatedly**), has been struggling with chronic lameness in her front left. The final diagnosis is not devastating for what we do, but thin soles, a bit of premature arthritis and some stress to the deep digital flexor tendon mean that she’s going on a maintenance regiment of good shoeing and Previcox. Also, lots of extended trotting. Lots of it. Sounds a lot like physical therapy.
And it goes on. We both have a tendency to get a little back sore, but it’s nothing that some alternative treatments, a little chiropractic work and proper exercise can’t fix.
We both prefer inertia over most other states, but given the right circumstances, we can go all day.
I often joke that my horse is just a little bit off — not in terms of soundness (although that, too), but in terms her personality and general state of being. Sometimes it’s what I love about her and sometimes it drives me up the wall.
I think my friends say the same thing about me.
So, my horse is my mirror. When it comes down to it, we work well together and she puts up with quite a bit from me. I guess I do the same for her.
Sometimes we like what we see. Sometimes we don’t.