It’s true. For the past 20 years, I haven’t been around a normal one. They’ve got issues or they’re young and inexperienced. Somehow, they find me–it’s not like I ask for them. After a few days, I win them over and change their lives, and in the process, they change mine. I’m talking about horses, of course.
I came to Bulgaria to work at a hostel being renovated from a communist-era schoolhouse, expecting to find veggies to can and walls to paint. Those are here, for sure, but so is one very cute, very rowdy 2-year-old stallion. His name is Feisty, and his reputation preceeds him. He’s not very big–13 hands, probably–but he’s strong, and he knows it.
Today is only day two of our little relationship, and I can say that I’m uber impressed by how smart he is. When Lala, one of the property managers, asked me if I would work with Feisty, I had to wonder what horse stories I’d told that made me appear qualified to take on this little project. My mission is to get him lunging walk, trot, and canter and accustom him to working with a new person. The first time I went out to catch him, he turned his rear-end to me as if he were going to kick. Fantastic, I thought. This is not the way I wanted to start things off.
I’m thrilled to say life has since improved dramatically for both of us. Yesterday morning, I was getting dragged around on the end of a leadrope. (Look, Linda! No round pen!) By yesterday afternoon, I was able to lead him around without getting my arm ripped out of its socket, thanks to the help of some well-placed trees throughout the property. This afternoon, Feisty was lunging on a short-ish line around me and listening to me for commands. He backed up without throwing his head in the air and bracing against me (unlike the morning before, when I was sure he was going to hurt me or himself by resisting). He even left his grass-grazing extravaganza and walked politely alongside me on a loose lead rope when I asked him to.
It’s been more than two years since I had to put down Red, the coolest horse ever to walk this planet and my companion for 16 years. I haven’t found a horse that I’ve clicked with since, but this guy is well on his way. I informed Lala that Feisty was going to need to come with me when I leave next week. It’s time he see Macedonia, the rest of Bulgaria and Romania, too; maybe even parts of the U.S.
Sure, that’s unlikely, but I can dream.