Thursday, June 28, 2012

First Horses

When I was sixteen I did what so many young horse-crazy girls do. I scraped together all my babysitting money and bought myself a horse I could afford. In my case, this horse was an almost three year old Arabian stallion from off of the range. I named him 'Dona Nobis Pacem', which is Latin for 'Give Us Peace'.

I had so many hopes and dreams tied up in Pacem. I had visions of us sweeping around the Arizona desert together. I knew he would be my soul mate forever. He would obey my every request and we would be magic together.

At sixteen, I was little more than a green rider. I had taken lessons off and on for four years, just enough to have my nerve thoroughly shattered by soured lesson horses. I had my spills, my scars, and I didn't even know how to canter a horse on purpose, while maintaining control.

Looking back, I had absolutely no business owning a horse that wasn't even halter trained.

I spent the first few months in bliss. I groomed Pacem for hours at a time, until he learned that it was best to just doze away when I brought out the brushes. He did more to train me, than I did to train him. I learned that he hated carrots, and that he would only eat apples if they were cut up first.

I never even attempted to introduce him to tack or anything, I just spent hours loving on him, and then turning him out into the arena, where he would bolt around like a wild flame.

I loved him.

Eventually, the woman who owned the barn where I boarded Pacem decided that we needed to be taken in hand. It was time for Pacem to earn his keep.

I still treasure all those days with Pacem. He was so much more than I ever bargained for. Like Jessica and Treasure, there were times with Pacem that I had my hands more than full. In one particular accident I ended up having my front two teeth put back into place after being on the receiving end of a hoof in the mouth.

First horses are like first loves. Sometimes they stay, sometimes they go, but you never forget your first horse.

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