I got Grady when I was nine years old, my first horse. He probably was not the best choice for a first horse. While he was 16 years old at the time, he was basically green broke. He didn't like to stop, he didn't like to go, he didn't turn, he bucked and reared and liked to try and rub me off on fences and trees. But I didn't care, he was a little girl's dream horse.
With the help of a great trainer, we turned him into an amazing horse. He taught me the value of patience and determination; doing the same exercise a hundred times and stomping after him every time he bucked me off to get right back on. Finally, after working through all of his bad behavior, he would always tried his hardest to please me.
We started out doing gaming, then I got interested in doing pleasure. He wasn't much of a western horse, he just didn't have the headset for it, but we did rather well in english pleasure rail classes. He could never figure out how to be accurate enough for pattern classes. He didn't want to jump either. But he was a great horse for trail, he ponied all my young horses that I started and I had a lot of fun doing natural horsemanship training with him.
My favorite thing to do was to sit on his back in the pasture, no halter or bridle. Sometimes he'd just graze and I'd bring a book to read, other times we'd tour the pasture. He was so good about listening, even after having the winter off I could hop on and go canter around and he'd listen to my legs and seat. I've never had a horse that I trust that much, that after months of not riding, I could still get on and trust that he would listen to my seat and voice aids, enough that we could canter around the pasture. I really regret not having more pictures and video of him - it was one of those things that I kept pushing off and saying "someday".
Even in his 20's he didn't seem "old" to me. I rode him on occasion, but he was a little creaky in the winter time so we stuck to riding in the summer. He still had plenty of energy and liked to run and buck, which always made me smile. I used to call him my "red Arabian stallion" like the one in Walter Farley's books. He didn't seem to realize he was a gelding and would prance around with his neck arched and tail up, snorting a challenge to the neighbor's geldings.
The hardest thing is letting go of someone you love. I always thought he'd live to be in his 30's and die in his sleep. He was healthy and never had an injury or illness a day in his life. He colicked due to a strangulating lipoma, creating an obstruction, in March, a month before his 27th birthday, so I made the decision to euthanize him, which had to be the hardest thing I've ever done.
|I miss these ears so much|
He'll always be my heart horse, that one horse that you have an unbreakable bond with. I've never bonded with another horse that much since I got him and I don't think I ever will. He'll always be in my heart, he was my rock, my handsome old man.