Kate over at A Year With Horses did an interesting post yesterday about horse and human personalities. Is your horse like you... are you like your horse? Who chose who? Do you want to be more like your horse? She invited her readers to respond. Sounded like a good idea. I haven't had my behind in the saddle since the cold snap so no rides to post about.
Val is my first horse. (Unless you count the thousand year old pony stallion named Comet who my grandma wouldn't let me in the pen with because he might "jump" on me.) Val was the very first horse I looked at once I decided I was in the market. Well, in person that is. I had been indulging in horse porn for a couple of years. I guess that's the first sign.
Anyhow, my trainer introduced me to Val, who was called Gus then. He was one of her student's horses. (Besides his handsomeness,) I liked how calm he was. We did a mini trail ride the day I tried him out. A vulture suddenly flew out of some brush about five feet away from us, and all he did was stamp all four feet in place. Not spooky - check! Frankly, with my lack of horse / horse buying experience, how much could I really expect to know about Val's personality, beyond what others told me. There is definitely an element of chance when you purchase a horse.
And - I think people change horses, and horses change people. For instance, I changed Val by giving him "Amplify" for a few weeks. I should have known that amplifying wasn't desirable or necessary. My calm horse (temporarily) disappeared - with scary consequences...
Val has made me a much more confident rider. Since I only see my trainer every month or six weeks, I have been forced to take more responsibility for our training. I ride with intention now. I'm a more competent rider too. Val gives me exactly what my aids ask him for, even though often, it might not be what I thought I asked for. He gives great feedback.
I hope I am changing him for the better. I believe dressage is improving his gaits and his strength. He is using his core and his back more now. The switch to barefoot is also an improvement. He seems happy with his life - his appetite is certainly good and he gets plenty of rest ;)
Are we alike? Val has a way better sense of humor than I do - he constantly reminds me to keep it light. Stress doesn't bring out the best qualities in either of us. We get frustrated when we are misunderstood. We both have decent work ethics, and sometimes are too smart for our own good. We both get bored easily - no need to repeat things over and over. Val is much prettier :)
While we have certainly had our challenges in the past year, I can't imagine life with any other equine partner. I truly believe, (although sometimes it may take a while to acknowledge / realize it), we get the horse we need. Think of it as equine alchemy.