I can’t believe it’s been 2 weeks. It has been the slowest 2 weeks of my life. I spend a lot of minutes every day thinking about you and missing you. I’ve even chosen to be in denial about it and pretend everything was like it usually is. You and Taylor spending your days eating and sleeping in your run-in, you bossing Taylor around, you taking a roll in your favorite dirt spot…
I’m not going to sit here and say you were the perfect horse. Everyone who knew you knew you were not – you were as far from perfect as you could get. But you were perfect for me. You were who you were and I always let you be that. I have never been around a horse who was as smart as you were, and you used that to your advantage (not always in a positive way). You outsmarted me a lot. In the beginning, it left me feeling frustrated but I soon had to learn to laugh about it. You taught me how to have a sense of humor in the saddle and not take myself so seriously and have such hard expectations for myself. I wanted to be perfect, and we ended up far from looking perfect! Every time we went in the show ring I never knew which Petey I was going to have. I always knew as soon as we did our first center line. I like to think that has prepared me for future show rings and not to be thrown off guard by anything. I don’t think I will ever forget the feeling of being utterly exhausted after trying to keep you together for a 5 minute test. I would leave the ring huffing and puffing and red faced. I am laughing as I think about it.
I will also never forget riding you in a snaffle bridle. On one hand, I hope I never experience that again. On the other, I would do anything to experience it one more time. You would always take the right rein from me by taking hold of the bit and clamping down so hard my right hand would eventually go numb. Where did you learn to do this? In my mind, you were always so hard to ride that the people before just put you in a double bridle from the beginning. You were also selectively spooky and got really good at telling what was going to the “thing.” You also got a certain feeling under me – a coil – and I’d wait for it. If you took a minute, I would finally tell you, “Just do it already and get it over with.” Typically, the next pass by you’d have your silly spook. I think you were given the name Pistolero for a reason! Knowing how you were in your senior years…I can only imagine what you were like when you were young!
For how hard you were on me in the saddle, we had some shining moments too. Competing in my first rated show, going to regional championships, half passes, flying changes… Achieving my bronze medal was at the top. It was something I never actually thought I would be able to do. I was hoping I would be able to start on my silver with you but that wasn’t meant to be. I remember our last show together and you told me that you were done. You didn’t want to show anymore. I told you that that was our last and it was ok. I understood and I appreciated everything you had done for me.
We were extremely bonded together. Most of the time I knew what you wanted just by the look you gave me (or the pawing of the left hoof). I believe you understood pretty much everything I ever told you. In the last couple of days, I hugged you around the neck. You just stood there and I told you, “I want you to hug me back like you do.” And you did. You would crane your head around me and would hug me. I am really going to miss those hugs. I am going to miss your soft nicker when you would see me. I’m even going to miss you hollering in full blown separation anxiety mode (I used to think it was always about Taylor or needing another horse friend until one day I discovered it was me too and from then on I always tried to be where you could see me). I am going to miss how you loved eating the Nicker Bait treats then proceeded to wipe your mouth on my shirt. I’m going to miss you grabbing my shirt and yanking me. I’m going to miss your cranky side. I’m going to miss you watching me and waiting until I walk around behind you then swatting me in the face with your tail. I don’t know why that brought you so much inner joy! I am going to miss your overzealous nuzzle and me reminding you that I was breakable and to be more gentle. I am going to miss riding you…your bouncy trot and rocking canter. I hope I always remember how they felt. I am going to miss you.
You were a great horse.
Losing you has been one of the hardest things I’ve had to go through. You were my soulmate, friend, partner, child, family. You were not just a horse. I did everything I knew how to for you, and I would do it all over again. I wish I could have done more. I wish I had had more time.
You were deeply loved, and I love you always.
Photos by Ailsa Jean Photography.