From December 2010 Issue
We were extremely pleased with all of our Senior Horse Assay entries this year - the mail bag and inbox brimmed with essays and photos of beloved horses and ponies. Most of the tales tugged at our hearts, but we especially enjoyed the essays on Commotion, owned by our adult category winner Lorean Love of Edmonds, Wash., and Desiree, owned by our youth winner, Elizabeth Thomas of Everson, Wash. Congratulations to both and thanks to all for taking part.YOUTH UNDER 18 CATEGORYElizabeth Thomas & DesireeIt was a stunning winter morning. A crisp breeze drifted across the grassy, frost-swept meadow. Sunlight pierced through the voluminous clouds, catching on the delicate icicles suspended from fragrant evergreen tree branches. An enthusiastic snort pulled me back into the moment. I was on horseback with a dear friend, drinking in the sights and sounds of a glorious new day. The air was fresh and invigorating and our mounts strode animatedly, exhilarated to be out in the open. Twenty-plus years young, my horse Desiree contentedly kept a steady pace. Numerous years of experience had taught her many lessons and had shaped her into a dependable sweetheart of a horse. Sure-footed and well behaved, Desiree was a sheer delight to be with on the trail. Mutual trust and respect came easily, but this had not always been the case. As I watched my companion struggle to maintain control and balance on her young, fiery mount, I thought back to earlier days when I was just learning to ride. “Keep your heels down and look up!” I can still remember my instructor calling out to me as I endeavored to circle, trying to check my flighty ride aboard Desiree. Dirt flew and whinnies rang out as I was thrown from the charging mare’s back. Troubled with torn jeans, scuffed knees, and bruised pride, I wanted to quit. Hot tears streamed down my mud-streaked cheeks as my instructor offered me a hand up and a word. “Girl, go get back up in that saddle.” I stared at her in disbelief. Had she not just witnessed my failure to keep the mare under control? Didn’t she know how shaken I felt, how humiliated and upset I was? Not skipping a beat, my wise instructor had the skittish mare caught and ready. She gave me a leg up and before I knew it, I was back at it, learning to deepen my seat and give more subtle cues. It wasn’t long before I had developed a knack for persistence. I am forever grateful for that day when I learned that getting back in the saddle means much more than technique or procedure. I had learned to remain true to my goals no matter the setbacks or challenges. Mellowed with age, Desiree readily responded to my signal to stop. As I waited for my friend to rein in her mount, I stroked the mare’s flaxen mane and realized how much we had both grown. Time brought Desiree a few stray gray whiskers and me an appreciation for a valuable word of advice given years ago. Sometimes failure is inevitable. Just remember to get back up in the saddle. Thank you, Desiree, for helping me see. Lovely! Thanks, Elizabeth, for sharing your lessons learned aboard your great senior horse!
ADULT CATEGORYLorean Love & CommotionFrom the time I was a little girl, my dream was to have a horse. At 43, I took my first riding lesson. Shortly after I turned 44, the same horse I took my first lesson on became mine. Commotion is my dream come true. When he came to our home, he was a 16-year-old, freshly-gelded Arabian. He has taught me just about everything I know about horses, riding and teamwork. No matter the ups and downs, twists and turns my life has taken during the fourteen years I’ve owned him, he has been my constant friend.Commotion is almost toothless. He lives on mush. But he doesn’t just live, he thrives. His coat glows and he has boundless energy. Three times a week, he and I venture out onto the Pilchuck Tree Farm trails. “Mo,” or “Moses,” as I sometimes call him these days, never has cared much for arenas but he loves the trails. I truly believe he enjoys life so much because he still has a job.I love him so much, I put an ad in the Northwest Horse Source for his 30th birthday!I know he had a life before I came along. In fact, in the beginning, it seemed like almost every horseperson I met had a story to tell me about when they rode Commotion or saw him in a show. I hoped by placing his birthday ad, people that knew him back when would see that he was still alive and kicking.In the beginning, I wanted Mo all to myself. Now I enjoy sharing him with others, especially my grandchildren. My 10-year-old granddaughter Hunter and one-year-old grandson Colson love Commotion, too.In case you think this ol’ boy is sugary sweet, he’s not! He’s a fiery little red rooster. He has a very good self-esteem and is very opinionated. He is funny as all get out and really makes his wants and needs known. At 30, it’s great to be able to laugh and spoil him. He is my first horse, he won’t be my last, but his horseshoes will be very hard to fill when the time comes. I hope it doesn’t come for years and years. With Commotion, I’ve learned to savor each moment and live in the here and now. Mo doesn’t know he is a senior, he is just happy to hit the trails each time we go out. He’s special.Thanks Lorean, we loved your story and your heartfelt connection to your horse, Commotion. - Gavin Ehringer, editor. NWHS
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