Horses have always been a part of my life. I'm really thankful that my parents gave me the resources to be able to buy my own. My first horse I bought when I was 14 - I was part boarding him at a lesson barn but the owner wasn't treating him right. He was a people horse, he craved attention. When the owner found out I was interested in buying him, she jacked his price up to something I couldn't afford and what he definitely wasn't worth. My parents gave me the difference, and I moved him out of there to the barn I currently work at. In the saddle, he was the laziest, most dishonest horse I had ever ridden. But I loved him for it. Someone had trained him really well and he would not do what you asked unless you asked him right. He basically taught me how to ride properly. On the ground he was the biggest goober you could ever imagine. He used to come to the gate when I called, he would stand in the cross ties for hours while I primped him, he would follow me around the paddock and the arena, I never needed a lead rope! I remember one day in particular when my barn's miniature horse died. It was quite sad, he had just colicked suddenly and had to be put down. No one was expecting our poor mini horse to go out that way. I'll always remember running outside and seeing him eating his hay outside and just running up to him. My horse was the biggest pig (even to this day I haven't met one more piggy) and I ran up to him and said "Don't ever leave me!" and he stopped eating his hay and just stood there. It may sound corny but I think he knew. I'll also never forget the day I had to make the decision to put him down - it just happened about four and a half months ago. He was so young, only 13. But it wasn't a choice really - he was in such bad condition that he would have passed on his own within a week.
Other than patience, humility, forgiveness, love, frustation and leadership, my horse taught me loss and sadness I never knew I could even feel. I'm still recovering from it all, and it was two weeks before I even went back to the barn to collect his stuff. His stall sign hangs in my room next to my mirror and his halter is on the back of my door (it smells up my room but I don't care!!). There isn't one day I don't think about him. But you never forget your first horse, and I take what he taught me every single day and I apply it to the horses I work with now and to myself.