…on my horse.
Soon we will return to discussing our learning process and what we’re working on, but today I’m just going to love on my boy and tell you just how wonderful he is.
Because honestly Frankie is my dream horse. I don’t know what I did to deserve him and I don’t know what stars had to align to bring him into my life, but I am grateful every day for this big brown brontosaurus. And here’s why.
- His stunning good looks. He may try to maim himself out in the field and scrape off all his skin like a dope, but goshdarnit he’s a well put-together horse. I realize that I’m biased here, but I love everything about how he looks- from his deep dark color without a hint of white, to his giant donkey ears, to his big thick tail, to his liiiittle hint of dappling, to his sturdy legs, to his sweet expression, the list goes on and on. If I could have built a horse from scratch, this is what he would look like.
- His terrible goldfish memory. To be fair, he may actually have a great memory. But he has a wonderful ability to forget when things go wrong. We crashed through that jump? No problem. I can circle around and try again without wondering if he’s going to back off it. I pick up the wrong lead? I can just bring him back to trot and ask again. He doesn’t get flustered by any of my rookie mistakes and is patient enough to take care of me until I figure it out and give him a good ride.
- His ability to compartmentalize. This kinda goes with the goldfish memory. Even if he gets riled up about something before I hop on, he settles into his job as soon as my butt hits the saddle. For example- we clipped him in preparation for the show next week. He was totally fine for everything except his ears. The ears were…exciting. A twitch seemed to have no effect other than giving him a weapon to impale me with. We did manage to get them done without too many hysterics, but he certainly made his displeasure known. I let him decompress in his stall for five minutes and then hopped on for a hack- no residual tension or angst. He lets the past be the past.
- His consistency. He comes out of his stall/his field every day the same- ready and eager to work. Even when he has a few days off due to a lost shoe/flooding in his mother’s apartment/whatever reason, he doesn’t get sassy or fussy. Tired Frankie rides the same as Fresh Frankie rides the same as Rainy Day Frankie rides the same as No Turnout Frankie rides the same as any other Frankie. I don’t wonder what kind of horse I’ll have under me on any given day- I know he’s gonna be my reliable guy. Indoor arena, outdoor arena, grass pasture, side of the road, any venue.
- His nonchalance about the jumps. He doesn’t blink at them. You know that perky cute expression most horses get when they approach a jump? He doesn’t make that face. He just lopes along and takes the jumps as they come up. Gates, verticals, oxers, boxes, poles, mountain blocks, muck buckets, traffic cones, whatever. He will jump whatever I present to him. I was used to having to manage Addy and wonder if she would jump the jump, and it’s so different having a horse that doesn’t need that mental reassurance.
- His ability to jump the jumps. He’s just so ATHLETIC. I’ve jumped him 3′-3’3″ fairly regularly and he barely puts in any effort, and when I popped over 3’6″ he was juuuust starting to pay attention. And he takes the bigger jumps with the same laid back attitude- he is confident in his ability to get over the jump. My goal has always been to make it to the high adults at 1.10m and that’s still the case, but it’s kinda crazy to realize that Frankie could likely take me higher if I wanted to.
- His willingness to try new things. I’ve hopped on him bareback with just a halter and he has behaved just as well as when there’s a bit in his mouth. I’ve used the horse vacuum on him without really showing it to him first and after an initial sniff of curiosity, he leaned into and got a droopy lip. I took him for a trail ride around a residential neighborhood and he bopped around on a loose rein the whole time. He is totally game for any harebrained scheme I can come up with.
- His personality. You didn’t think I’d leave this out, did you? Francis is one of the absolute cuddliest snuggliest horses on the planet. He LOVES hugs and smooches, loves scratches up near his ears, loves to give kisses on the cheek, and will press his face into my tummy just for loving. He hangs out by the gate when I turn him out so I can give him more kisses, follows me along the fenceline, stands for HOURS to be groomed, and generally just soaks up attention like a sponge. The epitome of a sweet goofy gelding.
Phew, I’m glad I got that off my chest. We can now return to our regularly scheduled programming.