Mr. Valentine the beginning

I’ll never forget the day I first saw him, he was standing behind bars peering at me with big warm brown eyes.  I turned to my friend and asked “WHOSE horse is that?”  “His name is Valentine” she replied “and I hear, he’s for sale”. Valentine was amazingly  beautiful, there was no denying that his dappled gray color with black mane and tail was striking. He had large sweet eyes and a wise expression that lulled most people into casting all caution into the wind and wrapping their arms around his neck or giving him a big kiss on the nose.  That would prove to be a mistake though, because he would wait until you weren’t paying attention and then strike quick like a rattler, with mouth wide open and glaring big teeth coming right at you. During that time I was riding my friend’s horse and would stop and talk to Valentine every time I was at the stable, maybe give him a carrot or two.  As much as I liked him, there wasn’t any extra money  to buy a horse and this particular horse was very lame in the front feet. Nothing had showed up in the x-rays but conventional wisdom had taught me that you don’t  spend thousands of dollars on a lame horse, no matter how strong the love at first sight is.  He had been looked at by several vets and trainers but his lameness issues were a big mystery and no one seemed to want to spend time with him to figure out what the problem was.  Along with the lameness, hidden behind the sweet, innocent demure face, was a very bad attitude that I didn’t find out about until later.  I guess the stable owner figured only a fool would buy a lame, mean horse and decided to get rid of him, after all times were hard, the economy was officially in the toilet. Fate’s twisted sense of  humor would have me walking in the barn at the same time she was putting up a sign that said “FREE to good home” and  before the sign could  be hung, I said “I’ll take him!”  We completed paperwork that said I bought him for $1 (one dollar) and  became the proud owner of a diamond in the rough. In the beginning, he turned out to be the worst horse I ever owned. More than a few people said I was crazy to waste my time on him and that I would probably spend thousands in vet bills figuring out what was wrong with him. The warm glow of ownership wore off rapidly when I realized that my new acquisition didn’t really seem to like me.  Every time I went in the stall, he spent the whole time trying to bite me.  If I tied him up to groom him, a ritual that horses usually enjoy, he would bite or kick every time he thought I wasn’t paying attention. One day when I was working him in the round training corral on a lunge line, he flattened his ears, showed his teeth and charged full speed at me, then kicked at me as he went on past.  One of the trainers happened by and said, “we never were able to get that habit out of him”. It was so nice of them to tell me that now, I thought, in tears.  I was actually afraid of a horse for the first time in my life.  Now, I think fear is a good thing as long as it doesn’t completely take over your life.  It’s that little inner voice that warns you to look again, something isn’t right. So you face your fear and let it flow over and away from you, only you will remain, ready for action. How in the world had I ended up in this depressing situation, here I was paying expensive room & board on a horse that was so lame he couldn’t be ridden and so mean, that I couldn’t enjoy spending time with him. It was a low point, LOW point, for both of us and I almost gave him back, thank goodness I reconsidered. Oh well I thought, my specialty has always been working with crazy, psycho horses that needed a little fixing here and there, or a person that would take the time to actually listen to what they had to say. I figured  he would most certainly be a good challenge for me and I would learn a lot.

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2 Comments

  1. Becky

    Where’s the rest. I want to hear more!

    • I thought I would write in sections to keep you coming back for more (grin).
      Thanks for reading!

      Jill

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