It’s a blurry cell phone shot.
It’s nothing fancy and you can barely tell who it is…
But this photo and this moment was and is, everything to me.
I got the chance that most of us dream of -
To go back and apologize to our old competition horses for what we unknowingly put them through.
Nine man retired after we cleaned house at our last International Show and he’s been a happy breeding stallion for the last 8 years. (Aries sire).
I didn’t know anything that I know now.
He was spectacular and we won everything, and wrote off his “hot” crazy behavior because he was an Andalusian stallion.
He held himself together beautifully, assuming he was ridden by a super careful balanced rider that didn’t get in his way, and he got bodywork in between classes.
And when he couldn’t, I was a manipulative-enough, well-timed rider that I could bandaid him in a pinch.
But he was 20 so we didn’t think too much of it.
Flash forward to today, I absolutely know without a shadow of a doubt every thing that bothered that magnificent stallion and just how much he did for me without me realizing, and it’s absolutely broken me.
So to get the chance to pull him out and sit on him to tell him exactly that, meant everything to me.
I just cried and apologized to him over and over, while I slowly shifted my weight in the saddle and helped him find his balance, instead of him holding up my own.
Opening his shoulders and decompressing his nerve impingements.
Feeling him suddenly check in with me and be so surprised and grateful that I finally understood the pain he’s always struggled with.
Straightening his spine, lap by lap until he chronic back pain melted away.
And then went his diaphragm and he was able to take long deep breaths and come down to a quiet easy walk.
He never offers to walk.
And as if no time had passed, he offered me one more dance and played with his new freedoms of lack of pain.
Collected-extended trot, and even a little levade!
Niner is 27 years old, and in one ride I was able to probably do more for him than all of the years in our entire competitive relationship.
It’s never too late, guys