Thursday, August 27, 2009
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
I have known Ace since shortly after he was born. A little black Morgan delivered into my life through careful consideration of bloodlines and temperament, he has changed my course in so many ways, it is often impossible to calculate. Every day, I wonder how I can love him more and every day he gives me greater reason to do so.
He is my Precious, Bijou, my forever horse. Any little child or terrified adult can ride him in the arena. Anyone who has the strength to hold the reins can drive him. He is the ultimate teacher, babysitter and companion. No one can leave without first falling in love with Ace, no matter what their disposition or opinion of horses. He is a constant source of wonder.
Ace is not the flashiest horse in the barn; he does not have Major’s rock star charisma or Don Pecos’s regality. He quietly, sweetly goes about his business. This is not to say he is without beauty, quite to the contrary. He is beautiful inside and out.
Anthropomorphist beware. I try very hard not to assign human characteristics to the horses. However, if you are a purist of this line of thought, I challenge you to spend a while in Ace’s company. He assumes human traits. It is as though believes it a condition of domestication.
Ace studies us. He notes our reactions to different stimuli, and then feeds them straight back to us. Ace provides input into lessons [Hey, look, Michelle! If I do a two thirds of a canter step before I go into the trot, rider rises on correct diagonal every time! Neat, huh?]. The most often repeated question in lessons with Ace is: Did he do that or did you? The most often repeated answer is: Ace did that. He is, without a doubt, the most intelligent, most affectionate, most generous, most kind, most resourceful horse I have ever known, and I'm not alone in saying this.
I never have to remind Ace's clients to thank their horse. At the end of every lesson they both wrap themselves around each other.
Ace is the stuff of legends. He is a quiet hero, a Mearas of Rohan. Precious. Bijou. However you call him, he Aces it.
The stories of Major could fill a book. Here are some of my personal favorites...
That he prefers to use the people door instead of the livestock door to enter and exit the barn.
His beloved goats, Amos and Andy in his feed bunk, flanking their Major while they all shared dinner.
Playing games of tag, tug of war and fetch the tree branch with his first born foal.
After showing great leniency with a trespassing kitten in his stall, he deposited the repeat offender by said kitten’s tail in the water bucket. Problem solved. No harm befell the soggy kitten, except to his pride.
Standing in his stall every day staring at the radio whenever Doug Brown was reading on NPR's Book Club. One day, I turned off the radio to see what he would do and he shot me a look that said very clearly, "WTF!" I turned it straight back on and he looked at me, sighed heavily and returned his attention to Mr. Brown's honey voice.
“Why do I love the Iowa State Fair? Corn dogs with mustard, onion rings, Dairy Barn Milk Shakes and all the people who come to see me!” Major says.
The time I had to be excused from a Western Pleasure class because he was acting so strangely. Outside the arena I looked at him and said, “What the …was that about?” He looked back at me with pouty eyes, opened his mouth and the heavy silver bit fell out. My young grooms had not got the screws tight after cleaning the bit and they fell out. Major had been trying to hold the bit in his mouth the whole time.
Or removing all the fur from the back end of Donkey Otey, his current pasture mate, in retaliation against the burrow’s chewing off half of his tail.
Oh, I could go on and on. Suffice it to say, this black Morgan stud is indeed a larger than life character with wit, athleticism and elegance to spare. He has been dubbed the Mick Jagger of Horses, which I find fitting, considering his strut, his intelligence and legions of adoring fans. He passes on his charisma, talent and his tiny ears to his offspring. I wish everyone could experience one horse, just once in their lives, as exceptional as Major.
For he has certainly made my life much less ordinary.
PS. Special thanks to the Ely's for fostering my boy and providing anecdotes