He was tall, dark and handsome (no wait, that was my husband)…
He was sorrel, confident but not cocky. The look in his eye was intelligent and proud.
We met in Tennessee at The Road to the Horse colt starting championship.
When I watched him with the other horses I noticed that he held his ground but didn’t go out of his way to be aggressive to others.
I chose him.
We spent the first hour in the round pen in a dance of sorts.
The other two roped their horses. One was mounted and riding.
But Popcorn and I danced on.
I bought him at the end of the first day.
Many people questioned my abilities.
“She’s too far behind.”
“She’ll never catch up.”
“Who chose her?”
They went to bed with their doubts.
I went to bed owning my next horse.
Dedication is something you choose BEFORE the outcome is apparent.
And the next day.
He chose me.
And the rest, as they say, was history.
Thanks to him I took home the title: World Champion Colt Starter…
Or at least that is what the world said.
…but what I really took home was my new best friend.
* * *
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I met Checkmate while shopping for a horse for my friend. He is a tabiano, sorrel and white, Tennessee Walking Horse gelding. The first time I rode him to see if he would be safe and sane for my friend, I burst out laughing with pure joy. He had a beautiful forward running walk, canter on both leads, talented willing mover, and sweet willing temperment. I was in love at first sight. But I had committed to getting this horse for my friend and so I honored that commitment, she bought him, and I asked for first right of refusal. One year later, he spooked on a very blustery day and unseated her trainer. Additionally, he had a chronic abcess, so she sold him to me. I have nursed him through surgery for that unhealable abcess, caused by necrosis of coffin bone. I am still madly in love with him and will take up riding him this spring once the hoof is fully healed and grown out.
My mare is Gussie, an opinionated redhead who is my rock solid trustworthy mount. When I bought her, she was a weanling; I use to go to the PMU production sales and pick out a filly to raise and resell with all the groundwork done, usually when they were long yearlings. My husband and I would walk the alley looking at all the foals in their groups, looking for one that stood out to us. My husband is partial to red roans, and he spotted her, not milling around like the other foals, who were heads up and whinnying nervously; she was standing in a corner, just watching. He said: ” That’s the one, she’s a thinker”. We bought her for $550 and while I would like to be able to say she lived happily ever after with us, I actually sold her twice and bought her back both times. I promised her this time, she isn’t going anywhere.
While training in Colorado towards my certification, I saw Ice, online, in Ontario, Canada for sale. I loved what I saw by video, however, I was in the U.S.
That was july 2008.
In November of 2008, we returned to Canada and the owner contacted me again.
It was a typical Canadian winter and the 6 hour drive to her was not possible.
Spring of 2009, again the owner emails me, she is still available.
My husband and I take the truck and trailer for a 6 hour drive, I ride her, the owner rides her, we strike a deal and 10 years later, Just Gimme Diamonds aka Ice has been my confidant, my teacher, my friend helping to empower others young and not so young to live more meaningful lives, and to respect and understand The Horse.
Clarence Creek, Ontario,Canada
A friend of a friend was looking for a new home and adventure for her chestnut mare before she moved out west. We were searching for that unicorn: fun for me, safe for my little girls, and ideally having potential to become part of an equine therapy program. The stars aligned and we found our Lily Marlene with all her sassy glory right before my daughter’s 5th birthday (you bet she had a big red bow on that gate when we told her!). One of the best days of my life was pulling up and seeing her in the paddock and just knowing without getting out of the truck that she was the one.
I met my old gelding looking for a pasture buddy, and an extra riding horse. I asked the seller to ride him, and he was out of control. I loved his big kind eye and old X blood lines, so ended up buying him. When we got him home he was so nervous for weeks, my husband called him Don Knotts.
Now he is well adjusted and a joy to ride. We love the old guy!
I love reading how everyone met 🙂
Texas was in a field with the mare I leased for a year. I was aware of him. He was the baby of the group at 7 years old. A big foundation built bay. He was always the one trying to get the other horses to play with him. The odd duck that stood in the creek slurping up creek grass lol When it came time to buy the barn wasn’t interested in selling the mare I was leasing but said they would “get me a good deal on Tex” lol So I switched my lease over to Tex. From rearing when I would take him from the field and constantly pawing in the cross ties – to now being ear marked to join me on my EAL journey – he has become my favourite thing in earth. He made me research on how to become a better horseman, how to be consistent and clear with my communication and to learn his. The lease mare healed my soul. Texas gave me my confidence and made me a better person. Facebook has this “Your memories from today” feature. What is so interesting is that, even while I leasing the mare and didn’t have eyes on Tex – he had eyes on me. I have several video clips of him approaching me while I waited for Dolly. Maybe he knew then that maybe we’d do great things together 🙂
I found my “Boy” in a holding pen headed for slaughter. He was a great big beautiful dapple grey 2 year old. I was told that he had been ridden and was even trained to neck rein already. I was leery but fell in love with him! I called my best friend and she said “get him!” Her husband rode him the first couple of times and we never have had a bit of problems with him. I have had him almost 3 years and we try everything – parades, sorting, barrels, mounted shooting, even the grand entry at the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo! I am a very unconfident rider and he is absolutely the best partner for me.
IT was 5 Am and my mare that was sue to foal, was screaming. I ran to the backdoor with the two dogs at my heels ( a Dalmation and a large black mutt). We ran around the house and to my horror two unknowns dog were barking and running around the foal lying on the ground and my mare was rearing and lunging at those dogs. I raised my arm, pointed at the dogs and gave the command “GET THEM”. My two dogs darted into the pasture, getting zapped by their collars with the invisible fencing, as they each ran towards a strange dog. My black mutt grabbed one by the neck and picked it up and tased it like a rag doll! The Dalmation was snapping at the heels of the other dog as it headed away. I ran into the pasture and caught the mare, as we walked over to the foal, my two dogs were sniffing the foal and the mare was calm. The foal was my Beaus Charlee Horse!
One day my mom came to me and wanted to show me a horse. The woman had put the ad up on a Facebook classified and it was one you don’t see to often, 100% honest. I reluctantly decided to message her about her horse. All my red flags were going up not because of the owner but the horse was not what I was looking for. She was a she to start with but 3 year old that was in my a opinion kinda ugly. I’ve always been a fan of the short stocky cowhorses, she had a big head, big chest, slightly longer back and a small runners hip.
After sending the woman a message inquiring more info she did not disappoint. A detailed book later she told me everything I needed to know. She informed me that the mares personality is that of a pocket pony with wonderful ground manners but the horse has a rank bucking problem that comes out of no where without warning. I’ve always been drawn to a project horse and was interested in the challenge but did I really want my next horse to be a huge project that didn’t have anything I was looking for?
After thinking on it something kept saying to go look at her. We set a day up and the woman had told me that since she has the problem she has that I could look and do ground work but I wasn’t able to ride her. Totally understandable if I had a horse with that problem I wouldn’t want potential buyers coming out and then getting hurt. The day come an almost 4 hour drive just put my eyes on this mare. She was sweet with a kind eye. After working with her and playing around with groundwork something just ignited between us. She was smart, willing, curious, brave and had a confidence to her. I knew in that moment I was buying her.
The day she came home the excitement was unbearable and after a long day of traveling we finally made it back home with the little mare I never saw coming. As I unloaded her she showed off how well she could walk on two legs so instead of going to the barn we diverted to the round pen to let her settle in and then the real work would begin!
Flash forward 5 years and she is my heart horse! I wouldn’t trade my breathing dragon for the world! She’s a confident, slightly opinionated but a willing partner that is always ready to work. She has taught me a lot over the last few years and I look forward to many more with her!
He was in a clinic for gaited horses – and everyone could understand why he was called “Hot Black Coffee.” He was absolutely black. I’ve had him for almost 23 years.
In May of 2014 when I was 24, I met my first horse when a livery stable was closing and selling all of their horses. I did not hear of the sale until there were only a handful of horses left. I went out the their pasture while they munched on hay, and one took notice of me, I knew he would be mine. I should have listened to the owner, and picked a different one, but I brought that scraggly Appaloosa home. I only got to ride him for a year in a half, he gave me a concussion and fractured my L2&3. He lives at with me at home. He has taught me many life lessons, I have met many wonderful people because of him, he has driven me to learn more, ask questions, breathe, and to love unconditionally. I dream of a day when I can have a safe horse ride, but for now I’ll enjoy all the life lessons my old man can teach me.
I purchased her when she was a yearling. And she was perfect for me, I started riding her when I was 12 and she was 2. She was so quiet and calm and perfect for me. Over the years we have learned a lot together. She’s now 7 and I’m excited for more great rides and many years of learning with her yet to come!
From my daughter, Lydia…
Five and a half years ago (I was 9.), a friend called my great aunt.
“Hey, Ruth! It’s Helen. I injured my back and can’t really ride anymore. My horse needs a good home!”
A few days later, Aunt Ruth and I drive the trailer up to Helen’s, along with my saddle, for a test drive.
They called her ‘Rabbit’. Pretty crazy name for a horse! ? She was a 14.3 hand registered Quarter Horse mate. She was sorrel with a diamond star and a back sock. Her most defining feature is the freeze brand on her hind quarters. It looked line a sleepy smiley face. Her eyes weren’t particularly soft and her head wasn’t perfect, but as I walked into the stall, Aunt Ruth knew right away that she would be coming home with us. “I think she likes me!”, I said.
We took her home, saddled her up and rode her around. As I swung my leg up to get on for the first time, she walked off. “That’s something to work on!”, I said to myself. Other than her strides being short and fast, she did really well. One thing I particularly loved was her soft mouth.
Even before she got to our house, we were discussing new names. I called her Flicka for a few days because her mane reminded me of Flicka. We finally settled on ‘Dakota’, since she was born and bred in South Dakota.
Dakota taught me many things over the years – from keeping my hands light to leg commands and a correct center. What made her so fun was how responsive she was and how she loved to GO. Now I am working on showing other horses, but Dakota remains a vital part of our family. I had her bred this spring because we love her temperament. My 5 year old sister her grown to love Kota and does exceptionally well showing her. Dakota will always be loved by our family and we are looking forward to meeting her baby in April! ?
My Annie, my heart horse, I never knew what that meant, until I met her.
Two mutual friends had pulled 2 horses from the Sugarcreek auction (a sale barn which most horses go to slaughter for meat). Two geldings, and at the last minute decided to go back for a mare they had passed on and subsequently she went to a meat buyer. The gelding I went to look at initially turned out not to be a good fit. I didn’t particularly want a mare, but something told me to go see her. So we did. I had previously been sold a rescue that hurt me many, many times, and as a newer rider, those accidents left their scars and emotional baggage with me. I made the friend selling the mare ride her-which she did so bareback. I made my best friend ride her. Then, I decided, I would try. She took such careful steps with me. If I laughed too hard, or leaned too far off to one side, she would stop dead and look back at me. As if to check on me. I knew right then, she was mine. 3 days after being pulled. Knowing nothing of her history. I brought her home 3 days after my first ride. She was my 30th birthday gift. She and I have ridde. Over 3500 miles in the 5 years spent together. Shes taught me a lot. I never thought I would ever ride bareback. Now it is our preferred way to go! We are currently working on transitioning from a hackamore to riding bridle free. I didn’t know a bond between a horse and rider could exist like this. I thought it was only a Hollywood fairytale. Turns out, the most wonderful horse came in the form of a rescued, gaited, amber champagne mare I named Annie.
The horse I have now was one I never wanted until I got her. I was then 16 and looking desperately for a horse; I went through more sellers than was good for such a young person! Then my mom told me that my aunt had a neighbor who was selling a two-year old mare… which was missing an eye. I was very against the idea, until my family talked me into it. Now I am very glad I bought her because she is a sweet little girl, and I wouldn’t trade my one-eyed horse for a two-eyed one. We became a team.
My second summer at horse camp, another camper was assigned my usual lesson horse – an occurrence I welcomed as an opportunity to broaden my riding experience aboard a fresh mount. My instructor gave me a choice between the barn troublemaker (a little sorrel Welsh cross gelding) and a 15-hand Quarter Horse mare named Ginger. Ever game to ride anything (and maybe a little overawed at the privilege of actually choosing a horse to ride), I left the choice up to my instructor.
When it came time to tack up, I found Ginger waiting in the crossties. To my undersized 12-year-old self, she looked big – not only towering but packed with muscle and good bone substance. She stood with her head low and neck relaxed, adding the impression of length to height and depth. Her demeanor was calm and steady.
Despite her calm, she turned out to be a “go” horse, moving off the lightest leg pressure and swinging along on a mission – until we neared the arena gate. Whenever we reached that point in the arena, she insisted we end the lesson. Nonetheless, she would always march off again with a squeeze of my legs.
I thought her stately but not striking, sensitive but not particularly engaging. I still preferred the eye-catching, feisty palomino gelding I normally rode in lessons during the rest of the year.
We finished our week of camp, and I didn’t think much more of her till the next summer, when I used her for Parelli games. This time she was pregnant, due to foal the following spring. I was told she’d be retired after her foal was weaned, but I already had a retired Appy mare (my first lesson horse) and so did not see myself adopting Ginger.
We had fun together with our week of daily games, then parted ways again. I thought we had shared our last week together.
Then, that winter, my sweet old Appy passed away quietly in her pasture.
Did I want another horse?
Yes. Just not right away.
Would I like to give Ginger a home once her foal was weaned?
And so, several months later, just a few days before my 14th birthday, Ginger came home.
That was over a decade ago. Ginger still lives with me today. At 34, she walks with a limp and lacks the thick layers of muscle that so awed me all those years ago. But she’s still as level-headed, forward-minded, beautiful, and, shall I say, “communicative” as ever. And she has seen me through so much.
I don’t know how much longer we’ll have together, but I know I will always treasure her as one of those special “heart horses”. I never suspected when I first met her that she would become the best (equine) teacher, partner, and friend I’ve ever had.
I was 8 years old. We were visiting my aunt and uncle, who owned a cattle farm and always let us ride the gentle cow horses in the arena whenever we came. That day there was a new face in the barn, a little red cow pony with a ratty, cow-chewed tail. “She’s one of the neigbor’s mares. He’s helping us with the cattle, so we’re let him keep her here so he doesn’t have to haul her back and forth,” my aunt replied when we asked about her. “He knows y’all are coming, and he said you can ride her, if you want.” Of course my sister and I said yes! After we were done riding, we said goodbye to the little red mare without a name, knowing she would go home before we were back to visit. Fast forward a couple of months. My dad brought us with him to help fix something at my granparent’s house across the street. My sister and I were instructed to stay inside while he took care of something. We were a little disappointed, because we liked petting the horses that were kept in my grandparents’ pasture, but we didn’t question it. A little while later, Dad said he needed out help with something. We follow him outside, and there is the little red mare standing beside a trailer. It turns out, she was staying with my aunt and uncle so that they could make sure she was a good fit for us. We had no idea about any of their plan. We’ve now had Sugarfoot for 20 years, and she has been the best little mare we could have ever asked for.
The little mare looked at me, not afraid but not engaged. Yet another in a long stream of ever hopefuls.
She was skinny, strong character evident. A secret lurking behind her watchful eyes. She knew her job and did it, nothing more, nothing less. She was protecting, herself and…
I couldn’t look away. Skinny as she was there was a presence about her.
I needed her and she needed solace.
She revealed her secret only when she was ready. And what a gift she gave me. She gave everything to him and kept nothing for herself. He is my forever horse and they will both have a forever home. She continues to teach both him and me. My life is immeasurably changed because of that little, skinny, amazing mare.
I was five years old when my uncle bought his mom. My dad felt sorry to separate him from her before he was weaned, so, my dad bought him and named him Angus. They lived on our farm with our first mare. When I was twelve my older sister bought her lesson horse and to make things even my dad offered to sell me Angus. I gathered all of my savings from chores, birthday money, and Christmas money and bought him for $250. Twenty years later he still lives in our backyard. He is chestnut with a star, stripe, and snip down the middle of his face. He is still energetic and curious. I remember one year there were owls hanging out on the fence and while the other horses stayed away from them he would go up to the owls for a sniff. He likes to play fight with my mini donkey and used to chase our old beagle when she went into the paddock.
I met my horse in1998. He was an ex pony horse from the Assiniboina Downs racetrack in Winnipeg. He was not really named they called him Buddy or Red.He was also an escape artist he broke through a fence the first night I had him. I found him late that night and rode him 14 miles home. He was very high headed and ridden with a tie down. We threw it away and Bandit and I rode together for 14 years until he passed away at age 26. He was a fast and fun horse who would go wherever I wanted and jump any fallen tree in the way.
I first met the horse who would have been mine at a riding stable where I was taking lessons. The first time I saw her I knew she was my heart horse and the next day I texted the barn to indicate my interest. (Cause at a stable, horses come and go.) I worked with and rode her for several years. As the barn was disbanding and she was coming home with me, I had a stroke and was unable to care for her. Luckily the owners found someone who took her and agreed that I could visit whenever I wanted. Over two years later, our plan is still in place and she’s happy and healthy. I wish every day that she was with me, but God helped both of us; for that I am forever grateful. She supposedly was an Argentine polo pony, but I see a lot of Morgan in her.
I met my horse after almost a year of searching internet listings and meeting prospects. We drove 7 hours to see her. When we went as a family to meet her and try her out she almost seemed too good to be true! But she was “the one”! Despite being young she was super sweet and gentle with my kids. I wasn’t particularly looking for a mare but she won my heart. The only red flag I had was wondering why this lady didn’t want to keep her, and fortunately she legitimately loved the horse but needed a finished rope horse to compete on.
I met my first horse when I was16 years old. He was very special to me. I met him at my neighbor’s barn, where I had been doing some riding. He was a beautiful palomino, and caught my eye right away. She asked if I wanted to ride him, and I said Yes!! I bought him soon after for $300.00. He was a wonderful companion and taught me a lot. Calm, great disposition, and willing to do what I asked. I couldn’t have asked for a better first horse. ❤️
I met Misty when she was close to a year old and still with her mother. She was a pretty little filly with gray gruella coloring. Her four white hocks and a large white circle on her belly allowed her to be a registered paint, overo style. She had the brightest eyes and so full of energy! I fell in love with her immediately. Here now twenty years I love her still and think she might care for me!
She was small. And scared. A plain looking bay with a star on her forehead and three white socks. Not too much too look at. She was in an auction pen with about 15 other mustang mares. I went closer, trying to match tag numbers to a reference sheet. She got pushed toward me by the bigger, older horses backing away from the other side of the small enclosure. We locked eyes. I began to cry. I knew she was the one. My beautiful Mariah.
I had went with a friend to go look at a red roan stud for her mare. Upon arriving at this farm, I had noticed a black and white paint standing in a pen with a few other horses. I inquired about this black and white mare. shes fifteen no experience she bucks bad habits the whole nine yards. After spending some time with this girl i decided she was coming home with me. after a few months of owning her i learned her biggest issue was trust and love. That is what i gave her and in return she bonded with me.