Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Getting it Right

So, I've had my horse Vandy since 1990, and that's a nice collection of years. And she might be headed out of this world, soon. Soon. I'm sort of putting the final word off on this. As she is comfortable, happy, certainly not in any pain, promise you that. But she's losing weight.

She is such an interesting being to know, and I've been interested in knowing her being for longer than anyone else in my life.

Let me tell you the best thing about Vandy. When I decided to buy a horse, there was another registered quarter horse for sale named Rose. Rose was 12 years old, and probably would have been the perfect horse for me. Well-behaved, good looking.

I don't know what drew me to Vandy. Wait, yes I do. She had the most beautiful face. Her face hasn't changed. On her quarter horse registration papers, her markings are: Star, Strip, Snip. She has a white star on her forehead, a white strip down her face, a white snip just above her upper lip.

She's a bay. Black points on her legs, black tail, black mane. In winter her coat is a deep brown, and in summer, she's a chestnut.

Back to what drew me to Vandy, other than her physical beauty. Though only 15 hands and change, she's a natural at dressage. Her body is built that way -- long pasterns, and the right kind of head and chest and collection. One day I'll figure out how to describe the poetry of riding my Vandy.

She moves with great drama and precision. And she's a diva, who has tossed me off her back, oh, maybe 20 times? Probably more. But that's only resulted in three or four trips to ER, one cast, and, I don't know, maybe 15 stitches, total. Oh, wait,then there was also the leg-thing, but that healed by itself.

If Vandy could speak for herself, she could tell you about the time I rode her so hard, she pulled her suspensory ligaments and was laid up for six months. And another time we rode high up the hills, she bucked her shins when a mountain bike came careening down the hill.

And then my friend Debbie could talk about the time Vandy sucker kicked her horse in the chest, and blood shot out like a fountain, and we pulled the saddles from our horses, left the saddles on the trail and used the saddle pads as compresses to stop the bleeding, as we walked two miles back to the stables.

All was well; in every case -- we were fine. And ready to ride again. I could never say this about another human, but with my animals, I treasure some scars. The one on my leg and my hand from breaking up a fight with Bru; and the knot on the back of my head, the bump on my shin, and a slightly shorter little finger -- that's Vandy.

29 comments:

  1. She sounds like a wonderful partner...isn't it interesting how we can love our animals with such unconditional love...yet find fault so easily in our human companions... Vandy and you have had a good run...I'm sure she loves you just as much!!!

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  2. Chieftess is definitely right. Another blogger friend and I have the same feelings about 4 legged friends. She had posted how introverts- humans and animals don't need too many words said- just a look or just knowing was key enough... I bet u have that w/your Vandy... Love the post- you and Vandy have a strong bond and a lot of history which is more than I can say about some human relationships.

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  3. The dark side of beauty and companionship--she sounds like quite the friend.

    I also want to second Chieftess' point: "Isn't it interesting how we can love our animals with such unconditional love...yet find fault so easily in our human companions..." I'm glad Chieftess compressed it for me or I'd still be yammering about it a month from now.

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  4. P.S. I like your calling her a being.

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  5. Yup, you are all so very right. I think, as KBF says, it's because we expect different things from humans vs the four-legged.

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  6. Perhaps we do expect too much from people. The pain from some human-animal-caused scars can persist.

    I hope Vandy's feeling fine.

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  7. I think we should expect more from human beings. To a horse, a kick is just a kick, something they can take as well as they give. We humans know well how the pain and scars we cause feel and should know better than casually inflicting them. I hope Vandy gets to reach the end of the trail with peaceful dignity. I know you'll do everything possible to make that happen. I also hope you take peace in knowing she lived a good, long life with you.

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  8. @K: For me, I know its because humans know better or at least they should.. Animals act on instinct.. Not to sound callous my heart breaks harder over an animal's death..

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  9. You don't talk about your horse much. I'd love to see a photo of this beauty. I'm sorry to hear her strength is waning. She sounds like the perfect match for you. *grin* I often wonder, when (if..?) the time comes for me to bring a horse home, what kind of challenge I'll be faced with.

    Whenever my husband and I have a disagreement, he tells me he wants me to talk to him like I do with my animals. *lol...*

    I also agree with The Chieftess' summation. My husband gets raked over the coals for leaving his muddy boots on the rug. My cat just deposited a decapitated and eviscerated mouse in the same location and I praised her for a job well done.

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  10. That she's been with you for 23 years is quite something. I'm sure she's only kicked/bitten/thrown you for good cause, whereas humans kick/bite/whatever just because they feel like it. That's probably one reason that people get along much better with animals than humans.

    I hope Vandy doesn't suffer for however long she has left.

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  11. Thanks, John. And don't worry, Marjie. When the time comes, she'll be with the vet who has treated her since she was 5 years old. They have a mutual crush on each other. I think it will be as hard on Dr. Wheat as it will be on me. Though, as others like Terry have said, Vandy has had a most lovely and luxurious, life. She's always had her own way and been very spoiled.

    KBF, yes; and circling back to Marjie, when I got cow-kicked in the shins, it was because I was careless. No malice aforethought. Although -- ALTHOUGH -- her nickname at the stables is "Evil Vandy."

    Carolynn, I'll write about her a bit more. I guess I haven't written about her all that much because she's such an everyday part of me, and has been for so long. But I think your mouse fable is so true, and rather says it all.

    I have lots of good Vandy stories, and will share, as a matter of fact.

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  12. I rode horses starting age 3 or 4 all the way into my 30's, all kinds and kinds of ways and they always seemed like a second skin. You are so very lucky to have a friend like Vandy, life with her must be so interesting. I look forward to hearing more about her.

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  13. I would like to read more Vandy stories, too, as well as see a few photos. I second what TheChieftess and others have commented. These kind of relationships are so precious.

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  14. Evil Vandy RULES!

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  15. Are you sure it was her looks that attracted you? It sounds like it was also her personality. You're two of a kind--not so much evil, but feisty.

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  16. I got Vandy as a five year old. She was bred for the track, but for whatever reason, lived the first years of her life, range free, in Utah. When I got her, she was what's called "green broke," by horse traders, and what's called "not broke at all" by the one who bought her -- me.

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  17. The two of have been through it all together haven't you?

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  18. To be fair, the horse traders said, "You don't want Vandy." I demo-rode her around the ring, a couple of times, and she had a beautiful extended trot before she bucked me off. Flat on my back, I said, "This is the horse I want."

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  19. I understand, I can't follow verbal instructions either, I mos def do best when I can learn directly by doing.

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  20. Need a shot of Vandy to put the entire picture together.

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  21. I tend to think of horses as living forever. Probably because it's such a rarity to see one person be with one animal for that length of time. 23 years.

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  22. Spriited - a word that might best describe each of you. Damn lucky you two have shared more than two decades together. Thanks for sharing with us.

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  23. First I read how Boz doesn't hike or run anymore, and now I read how Vandy is losing weight. So now I am worried. I may need to bake for you.

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  24. One of my bestest friends in junior high couldn't wait to have her own horse. She moved to St. Louis; I visited her and she took me riding, still on borrowed horses, and my horse knew me instantly - rode me around everywhere but where I wanted to go. That's the only time I've been on a horse. My friend moved to CA and finally got her horse, a loyal companion for almost three decades. Like you, my friend was fearless on her horse, who was as close as any human friend to her. Like you, she acted in their last months together from a place of love and compassion. I live across the country but still remember that time....

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  25. What a curmudgeonly gem she is. And her digs are swell as well.

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  26. Vandy is beautiful. You've been through a lot together. That's got to make for a powerful bond. Hope she's doing okay.

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