It has been just over a year since I met the fabulous red pony who I named Fox. He was just coming off the track as a well bred but lack luster racehorse and I was swallowing down the pain of having to retire the High Queen. He wasn't the true black Irish Sport Horse that I'd been dreaming of(and that my wallet could never afford), he wasn't tall, his coat was an odd dusty copper and most people would have passed him by without a second look.
But something made me look. He was quiet and seemed uninterested in being the cliche of a high strung OTTB. And when he laid his nose on the back of my neck after our trial ride I was absolutely sure I wanted to take him home. Superhubs was a little cautious because Fox had had that one baby moment on our trial ride but if nothing else Superhubs lets me do pretty much whatever I want.
That fall Superhubs and I took the two boys over to a local park that has equestrian use trails. We did the exact same trail ride on Sunday and it struck me then the huge difference that Fox and I's year together has made. Last fall when Fox and I were just getting to know each other he would not cross the shallow dry ditches at the park or the wooden bridges and you can just forget any kind of water crossing that involved the red pony getting his feet wet and or muddy.
This past Sunday Fox happily walked or hopped over the dry ditches, didn't bat a lash at crossing the wooden bridges and when I asked him to walk through a muddy part of the trail he complied without a fuss. It was at the mud puddles that I realized Fox trusted me, that somewhere in the last year he'd grown to see me as his leader and his partner. This had been a huge sticking point with the High Queen. I don't think she'd ever learned to truly trust me, not on trails and not in the ring. Which made her anxious and unhappy most of the time and in turn that made me overly alert and cautious with her.
But my dusty copper, no one would look twice, 15.2 hand OTTB has turned in to a deep copper, loving, trusting partner who I'm hoping to complete our first horse trial with next month. If the beginning of a true partnership wasn't enough Fox and I cantered our first jump together on Sunday as well. Just a pile of baby logs but still it was a massive step for us.
So here's to the year that passed that has bonded the red pony and I and to whatever comes next. Keep it between the flags everyone.