Can you love one a little too much?

A face hard not to fall in love with.

Being “horseless” is a choice I have made. I work many long hours for SAFE and when I come home, my family needs me. I could not justify running off in my free time to ride my personal horse or spend the many hours a week I would want to spend with one. I don’t think I know how to do anything but go all in. So I get to still enjoy working with horses thorough my job at SAFE. I always have one very special horse that becomes my central project and that horse will get all the attention and care I would give my own horse. So I have lovingly taken to calling Anderson my boyfriend and all the volunteers tease me that I love him so much.

So what is the consequence to this? Well for starters, potential adopters seen that love and have even remarked that they didn’t want to take him away from me. Oh dear! Have I loved him too much? I don’t think this is possible but I understand their concern and think it is very sweet. For me, the absolute best day at SAFE is when a horse is loaded in the trailer and headed to their new home. A perfect family has been found for them and a future of safety and love awaits them. With Anderson, he needed a consistent person to attach to and trust. So the relationship for both of us works well. I get to have a sweet boy to ride and learn on and he gets to see that people are pretty cool and is building the trust he needs to secure placement in a forever home.

He gives me a very strong sense of safety. I know this sounds strange coming from the person that was bucked off this guy not even a year ago, but I feel that he wants to be safe and he doesn’t intend any harm to me. That said I am always mindful of him. Not only is he a young energetic Arabian but also he was a late cut stallion. In no way does he act overly interested in mares but he does test me in little ways to see who is actually in charge of whom. It is these times that I help him know the herd order that he becomes even more gentle and kind. He loves to interact with me. If he is in the round pen doing liberty work he wants to be near me and stays with me as I walk around the pen. He is a little cheeky at times so I am always aware of him and what he is capable. Keeping the order of the herd is important with him. I don’t have to “dominate him” to make my point, I just have to be clear and when I ask him to do some thing there are no questions about it happening. Get the change and let him have peace, have become some important lessons for us. If I let me get away with little bad habits he may challenge me at other times. Really small things like not letting him became mouthy are very important.

I have an absolute blast working with him at the Joel Conner clinic in March. He was happy to show Joel the changes he has gotten and in this clinic we really learned the importance of working on a loose rein. I LOVE the fact that we are at a place that he can calmly go into the walk, trot and lope on a loose rein and come back down with out pulling on the rein. God knows it took a lot of courage and trust to get there but the end result has changed so much in my own abilities and made a huge difference for Andy.

After the Joel clinic, it was time to take him back out on to the trails. He was a little excited at first but soon relaxed into a very nice big walk. He crosses over the bridges and water with just a very little amount of caution before going over; he’s happy leading other horses and just as content to follow. He did not get upset when other horses with us were pacing or unsettled. He was respectful of their space and OK if they came close behind him. I think he really enjoyed being out of the arena and he was just as responsive to me outside as he is at home. Again all the work we have done in preparation and building a solid relationship are paying off. I felt very safe on him and was very happy we could walk on the trail and over bridges with a long rein and at a relaxed pace.

Now I write this glowing report and think wow, he sounds like the perfect horse… While I might have some rose colored glasses on but I do think he is extremely talented young horse and has a ton of potential. He still is at a place in his training that he needs an athletic advanced rider who is able to keep up with his energy and able to guide him through the next few years. Someday he maybe able to carry a more beginner rider but at this point he needs an adopter who can continue the great work SAFE has done with him and not let him regress or fall into bad habits. His perfect match would be someone who has the time to work with him 4-5 times a week and has an arena to continue working with him along with any trail riding they want to do. He is not ready for someone to just pull him out on a Saturday, saddle up and head out on the trails. He still needs groundwork and to continue to confirm the basics. I do think he is going to go fast when the right match puts an application in for him. I will miss him but know that he will have the best home we can find for him and all the opportunity to have a successful forever home. Please email me at adopt@safehorses.org if you have questions about Anderson.

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