Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Uncharted Waters - 3 Years of Courage

Three years ago today, a little bay horse with a big ego got dropped off at my barn. I had no idea what I was getting in to.
just before he left the track

three years later
Three weeks prior, I'd retired my incredible event horse, Cuna. I was still holding out hope that he'd come back to work someday. Courage was my back up plan and hell, maybe a resale project. Those first six months, he was so easy. He knew he was my #2 and he just waited for me.

Six months later, I was crying into the mane of a little bay horse who stepped into the number one position like he was born for it. He waited for me to heal enough to wipe the tears out of my eyes, and then he reminded me that he was ready to be the leading man.

Courage is a funny guy. He was my first-ever straight off the track horse, but I had really excellent help with that in the form of Lindsey and Alyssa. We were friends already, but this little horse forged passing friendships of convenience into an unforgettable bond. Laughter, tears, triumph and heartbreak are marked on the backs of the incredible horses that brought us together. 

His transformation from understudy to leading man came with plenty of struggles. He had very definite ideas about what he would and would not do and he had even more certain ideas about how he was to be handled. He's strong, sensitive, opinionated and stubborn, which makes him eerily similar to myself.

Courage was supposed to be my show jumper who dabbled in eventing, but no one told him that. He proved time and time again that he had ZERO interest in jumping over anything but he was still game enough to jump the shit out of giant oxers from a jog trot without batting an eye. I tried harder than I should have for longer than made sense, but when I finally let go of my old dreams and embraced the journey Courage and I are on together, our world started to come together.
august 2013
june 2016

I've bemoaned that he wasn't the one that I lost, I've regretted that he and I were either flaming hot or ice cold, but through it all, I remembered how we came together. It was more than happenstance--it was meant to be on so many levels. At our lowest moments, I told a friend that I thought Cuna brought Courage to me, and because of that, I just wasn't ready to give up yet.

Definitely sappy, but it's a sentiment I still hold to.

I've been apprehensive about this day for the last six months. Courage is my third horse as an adult--the first, I sold on her three year anniversary of ownership. The second I put down on our second year mark. Both of them I planned to have forever. Courage isn't just the horse I own anymore. He's the one my dreams are made on. We're on a new adventure together and I love every minute.

I never thought I'd be seriously pursuing dressage. I never thought I'd be endlessly entertained by the perfect transition or the best geometry, but here I am.

With Courage.

I'm more interested in the day-to-day relationship with a horse than with big goals, but Courage is an enigma even now. He represents the farthest I've ever taken a horse I trained myself. His larger-than-life personality and his unfailing opinions make this journey special for us every day. I can introduce him to my friends and know he'll make a splash or I can take him to a show and know that I have nothing to be ashamed of.

We're on this journey together.

He isn't the horse I thought I wanted. This isn't where I expected to be. This isn't how it was supposed to happen.

But here we are.

There's no where else I'd rather be.

With Courage.

33 comments:

  1. Happy anniversary! I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and maybe Cuna did, in fact, lead you to Courage! He may not have been your perfect vision of the horse you wanted, but he has definitely been the horse you needed over the last 3 years. I really enjoy watching you both grow and change.

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  2. This is one of the most beautiful things I've ever read.

    The stunning pics helped to.

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    1. Aw thank you. I take no credit for the pictures--Alyssa did an amazing job.

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  3. So many feelings!! I love your blog and adore Courage. I'm glad that you guys found each other. <3

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  4. These photos are gorgeous. It's funny how the horse we thought we wanted and the horse we have don't always line up, but then one day you look back and realize you wouldn't trade for the horse you thought you wanted then anyway.

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  5. This is everything. All the feels. And the photos, my God.

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  6. I cannot BELIEVE it's been 3 years. that's wild. incredible what you guys have done and explored together!! heart him.

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    1. Seems like yesterday he was a skinny little track horse who couldn't move his back.

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  7. Wow look at him!!! What a hunk!!!

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  8. Happy Gotcha Day! Today is also Chloe's 3 year anniversary with me. 😊

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  9. Happy Gotcha Day! Where did all that time go... it seems like you just got him yesterday!

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  10. Love this post. Happy 3 years :)

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  11. Wow 3 years already! Beautiful post and photos. I'm so happy you have him.

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  12. Beautiful tribute to the relationship you have built. Happy 3 years!

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  13. Love all those pictures! Congrats on 3 years!

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  14. This is absolutely everything and I'm so happy for you. I can't believe it's been 3 years already <3 I believe that your old friend sent you Courage, like Lucky sent me Brantley. He's with you for a reason.

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  15. Happy Anniversary. I totally get what you said.

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  16. Happy three years, and here is to many more years to come!

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  17. Happy anniversary! I love his name and how it moved you to embrace your horse for who he really is and what he wants to offer. Courage-how fitting. Congrats to you both!

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    1. Both my boys have had the most amazing names.

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  18. Congrats on three years!!! He's changed so much

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  19. Sometimes it's so much less about what you're doing, but who you're doing it with. Cheers to 3 years of C-Rage, and heres to bazillion more <3 <3 <3

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  20. This is SO lovely! And wow, the transformation!! He looks amazing. LOVE this post!

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  21. Congrats on three years with Courage!

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  22. This is such a great post and as someone who's had a few shorter term horses and now truly has a horse that I hope to have until retirement, this is especially meaningful

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  23. I know it's notthe point of the post, but WOW has his topline ever changed!

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  24. I love everything about this post 😍😍😍

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