I was 17 when I first owned a thoroughbred, a big chestnut mare who was named Dancer when I got her. I always imagined that she went back to the great racehorse Northern Dancer and that’s why she was called that although I didn’t get any papers with her. $175, that was a long time ago when a really good horse was around $350. ( see how old I am?)
She spent most of her life afraid, spooky, and run away was always her first choice and could she run (when I was younger I was alot like that myself, a runaway). She is the reason I don’t like going that fast (don’t get me wrong: I might have my fears but now I gotta do things that make me look those same fears nose to nose to do my job tending cows; run away is no longer an option. I just cry and do it anyway)
Once I was out riding alone, got off for a pee break and tied her to some bushes. I don’t remember if it was me in those bushes that spooked her but something did and when I came back she was leaning back hard, trembling, and blowing. I managed to calm her with my voice enough to get her untied and away from the source of her fear that day.
After that I noticed a huge change in her; not that she wasn’t afraid anymore but she had started to see me as a place to go for help. It changed
me too; i started to take on that part for her. I always tried to do the best for her and didn’t ask her to do anything or go anywhere where she would get hurt. She got to trusting me to the point that if I had asked her to jump through a burning hoop of fire I know she would have done it. Although, I never would have asked her. But she became a good horse.
I never really developed the same trust in her but that was OK. I did the best with what I had and my reward was that Dancer taught me a lot about what kindness can do for the receiver and the giver.