Until the End...
(Virgina Beach VA)
I was probably ten or nine years old when I suddenly had this REALLY strong urge to go to a barn and take lessons. So me, my sister, and my Mother all prayed that it would happen. Then a week or so later, one of our friends starting randomly talking about the awesome barn she went to. So we tried it out.
The first day we went there, I was SO excited but also EXTREMELY nervous. I suffer from a LOT of anxiety. Out teacher was showing us around the barn and showing us the horses. At the time, we didn't take private lessons, so we were with a group.
After looking at a Chestnut Quarter Horse mare named Tekera, we moved on to a stall. I was at the back of the group so I couldn't see the horse in there, but as soon as I could see, I knew that I would love that horse for the rest of my life, and she would love me too.
Her name was Thalia, -pronounced: Tal-e-uh- and she was a Chincoteague Pony, who had been abused for 6 whole YEARS until my teacher had rescued her. So Thalia had major anger and trust issues.
A few weeks later, our teacher handed out buckets and assigned us horses. "Thalia," she said and smiled at me. I asked if she was talking to me, and she nodded. I beamed.
Then, a few weeks later, it just so happened that we were going to lead horses from their stalls to the pasture. We weren't advanced yet and had only ridden once with this trainer so we didn't get to do a lot of riding until we knew how to take care of a horse, and the rules of the barn.
While our teacher was handing out lead ropes to kids and helping them put the halter on the horse they would be leading, a kid next to me said loudly and snootily, "Thalia's a BRAT!" My face went red with anger.
"She's NOT a brat! She's just has some trust issues and is misunderstood!" I stuck up for Thalia, no matter how afraid I was. A few minutes later, our teacher handed me a halter and a lead rope and told me I would be leading Thalia. My grin spread so far I though it was touching to another country.
Our teacher opened Thalia's sliding stall door, and Thalia backed up, pinning her ears, obviously scared of my because she didn't know me. I held out my hand and said in a sweet, soft voice, "It's okay girl, trust me, I can't and won't hurt a soul." She stepped forward and gently sniffed my hand, then pinned her ears. She was still working on trust. I pulled my hand back, in case she would bite, but she didn't.
I slipped her halter on after my teacher said to be quick, because Thalia doesn't like her ears to be touched very much, nor her muzzle. She LOVED her forehead and forelock rubbed though. And her neck. She also likes being brushed, but she doesn't want anyone to know, so don't tell her I told you that!
We led the horses outside, everyone made a path for Thalia and me. I felt as if we were in a parade or something. I was so happy I could almost explode. :D
I also fed her a week or so later, and she was happy about that!
Since then, I rode Thalia and learned she had the smoothest trot of any horse in the barn, and in my opinion, the whole WORLD! She was so fast too! One day, a was riding a palomino gelding pony called, well, Ponee, and we were doing a trot around the arena. I was posting, but he was SO bumpy that my legs wobbled, and he broke into a canter, I lost my stirrups and clung onto his neck, I yelped, but tried not to yell, which might make him go faster or scare him. I couldn't let go or I would fall, so my trainer stepped in front of Ponee and slowed him down.
Tears streamed down my face, that hadn't helped my anxiety at all! But then I had not know that part of riding was falling off, brushing off your Jodhpurs or Breeches, -riding pants- and getting back on.
I then, was so scared that the next week I had lost all my confidence that I had slowly, little by little, had worked on building up. So my teacher put me on a lunge line, and first had me do a sitting trot of Thalia, then a posting trot, -still on a lunge- then had me do a sitting trot but with one hand over my head, then clapping with both hands every few steps, then hand out to the side and counting. It was a big step for me after I lost all my confidence, but I learned a lot.
I then, trotted off a lunge. After that lessons was done, I dismounted and Thalia rubbed her forehead along my body, which is a sign that she loves me. I smiled and patted her.
She was also the first horse I cantered off a lunge line with, and she was SO fast, but SO smooth!
I also jumped cross rails with her, and talked to her every time I saw her, even if I wasn't riding her that week.
Then, after a months of loving each other, I met another girl who was in love with Thalia, and had known Thalia for as long as she had been with our teacher, which is two years. I showed Thalia, I did Model in Hand or Hand on Model (I don't remember which one it is!) and won second place! I also did walk trot division since I wasn't ready to do walk trot canter division yet.
Then, a couple months later, something terrible happened. It makes me cry even if I think about it, or even type it. One day, I wasn't able to ride that week, but I still went to the barn. When my teacher saw me, she looked sad. I was nervous. My mom, after talking to her, walked over to me and told me to go see my teacher. I swallowed and walked over. I had already guessed what had happened.
"Let me guess?" I asked. My teacher nodded. My teacher had already talked about this happening, but now that it had happened, it was 100 times more terrible. My voice broke as I whispered, "She's sold... isn't she?" And my teacher nodded. I could barely move, tears gushed down my face. I walked back to my Mother and she hugged me. I then, walked over to the barn and looked into Thalia's stall. She seemed happier already. I knew she would be happier because she didn't have like... a MILLION people riding her everyday. (Not quite a million :P) I saw a sign by her stall that had hearts and ribbons on it. The sign said, "Roses are red, violets are blue, and-" I stopped there, I didn't want to read it. I was furious, and SO sad. My teacher's daughter walked over to me and hugged me.
"The good news is, she gets to stay here at the barn, and if her new owner can't make it and she needs exercise, then she can be ridden by you maybe!" I smiled and nodded.
Months passed, I haven't ridden her. But I get to hang out with her and talk to her and feed her treats. I still miss her. But whenever it is my birthday, I'll ask her owner if I can have a day with her or ride her possibly. Thalia is happier now, and that's all that matters.
I'm actually currently writing a book I plan to publish about Thalia's life. I'm planning to publish it this year in 2020 if it can be published with Corona going around. If not, there's always next year.
If you ever fall into an emotional mess or pit, just remember, you're not falling forever. You just have to get back on the horse and let God do the rest!