Sunday, September 4, 2011

My Friend Princess?

It was this week last year that I first spotted the craigslist ad for my sweet mare Princess. Within a week I had gone to see her and by the fifteenth of September she was mine. I was not in love with her or anywhere close. She wasnt my "type". I hated her color. I wasnt crazy about her conformation. I figured that in one year, when Abby came home, I could send her down the road without a tear and with free conscience as I would have put time and training to her that would give her a better chance for a useful life down the road. One year of riding later.... And boy have I learned a thing or two about what I like in a horse. I still dont like her color. And not just because it is impossible to keep clean.

I still have to turn a blind eye to her conformation and the way it makes her body move, (athletic is about the last adjective that would come to mind). BUT I have gotten more "use" out of this not-so-pretty mare in one year than I have out of all the horses I've owned in the past ten years, combined. 'Pretty' really is, as pretty does.

When I started riding Princess I had a set of hard and fast rules that I felt were non-negotiable. For example: I dont feed treats and I especially dont feed treats out of hand. I dont get off and lead my horse over an obstacle she wont cross. I dont use bribes. I do not coo lovey-dovey "goood girrrrl, what's a sweeeet goooood girrrrl" to my horse and I especially do not do so when trying to coax her through a sticky situation.

I feed Princess treats, out of my hand. I get off and lead her over obstacles she wont cross. I bribe her. I coo lovey-dovey words, especially when I'm trying to coax her over a sticky situation. I did not begin to use the above tactics because I "love" her and she has turned me in to a softy. Oh contrare!

For all the use I was getting out of Princess I was still planning on selling her come September for no other reason other than the fact that I could not seem to develop that bond. I had days where i thought I might just be falling in love with her but then that feeling would seem to fade overnight.... and not because of a bad experience. We just didnt "click".

Not only did we not "click" but it really seemed like she did click with the lady I board off of, who I'll just call L.. You see, L and Princess had this bond... Princess would walk right up to her in the field to be caught and then seemed happier with L under saddle. Princess would relax and respond to L better than to me so much that I actually encouraged L to ride her more and we even talked of her buying Princess. I didnt resent that bond at all, I envied it.... because it is exactly that "special connection" or "click" that I have been trying to find for years now. I always thought that it was just something that was there, or not.

The time came for me to make a decision. Sell Princess or not. The answer wasnt simple. I still had so much room to grow on Princess. I still loved riding her. We still had years of good riding a head of us. But we had no bond. So which was more important to me? The bond, or the ride?

More soon.


  1. Ah, leaving us hanging! Whats funny is that I'm only a cooing, softy "good girl, you're doing so great" kind of person if A. I have that bond already with the horse or B. a horse is in distress or in pain. Otherwise I'm pretty matter of fact with them.

    With my gelding, we formed a close friendship, but he never felt like a forever horse to me- its the first time it has ever happened to me, and rather unnerving.

    Looking forward to the next installment of your story!

  2. Princess really is a beautiful horse. I love her face how it is brown at the top and white at the bottom. beautiful!

  3. Great to hear from you. I think Princess is lovely, and I look forward to hearing the rest of the story.

    I felt the same way about Jaz. Hate the color (grey). Not crazy about the choppy gaits. I prefer a horse with more substance. It took us longer to click, but click we did.

  4. Great to hear a bit of an update from you! And even better to hear how Princess has wormed her way into your life! :-) I hope the same thing happens with my new mare...

  5. Oh, to have trails like that.... Great blog!