This picture is of my Arabian mare, Lacey. She may look innocent (and pretty!) here, but let me tell you, this horse can be a handful!
She is a 2001 Eqyptian-bred mare who is obviously beautiful and quite the character. I can confidently say she has taught me more than any other horse and made me, often against my will, become a better rider.
I bought Lacey solely based on the fact that she looked so much like my first horse, Dixie – she is a rich red chestnut, white blaze with a flaxen mane and tail……and that’s where the similarities end.
What a dumb reason to buy a horse you might think and I agree, but, I am always one to believe that everything happens for a reason.
In Lacey’s defense, from the get-go she was constantly compared to one of the kindest, quietest and most athletic horses that ever lived. Those are big hooves for any horse to follow in, much less a young, green-broke spirited Arabian.
Lacey is her own horse: she is a diva, has the attention span of a chipmunk, tolerates very little discomfort of any sort and is an expert at exercising patience. She is also very smart, funny, incredibly athletic, sweet and forgiving.
I have owned her for ten years now and I often think back to the many times I was reduced to tears of frustration: when she wouldn’t get on a trailer, the times she spooked at everything or acted up at horse shows and we had to leave classes, the days she was head strong and of course the falls, broken bones, bruises and wounded pride.
I think back to how she taught me that holistic health is just as important with animals – horses need to be healthy from the inside out which sometimes requires research, an open mind and help from other experts.
I also think back to the confidence she has created in me – Lacey needs a leader during her moments of uncertainty and that was a skill I did not have until I started riding her.
I think back to the first time I cantered her and how I never imagined a horse would have a gait so smooth and gentle.
I remember the absolute thrill of hooking her to a cart and driving for the first time, knowing that we had accomplished it together, start to finish and everything was perfect.
I fondly remember showing her as a ‘grown up’ and how proud I was of her confidence and composure in large & boisterous classes. That tiny flat second place ribbon from a huge Open Road Hack class holds more meaning than any other award I have ever received!
Had Lacey not been a challenge in her single digits, I would not appreciate the times of maturity and talent that peek through now. Sadly, it took me many years to accept Lacey for who she was and to stop the comparisons between she and Dixie.
I look forward to the years ahead I will have with a horse that was well-raised and trained with no vices. I look forward to riding without an agenda and to perhaps Lacey having her own foal someday.
I also look forward to telling the stories of her antics – running me over, nearly drowning in the creek and breaking numerous cross ties – with a smile and hopefully encourage other struggling partners to ride through the bad to get to the good.