Monday, October 21, 2013

Star Runner

This may be longer than a typical post and I'm sorry if so.  I haven't planned this out yet.

But it seems appropriate on Memory Monday to introduce another major character in my life, my sweet mare Star.

She was a gift my grandmother and father and I never had the chance to say thank you enough.  There's always something about your first horse.

But I learned a lot.  Growing up, I worked with a lot of horses with issues: buckers, bolters, rearing horses, herd bound, body sore, etc.  But I never usually had one that didn't know a lot, but was a gentle soul.  Star was that type.  She didn't do force, like many Arabians.  The more you forced, the harder she was going to hand it back to you.  I had unfortunately learned a little bit more of force with dealing with some thick headed horses and dealing with their vices.

I learned about introducing a horse to water crossings.  She just didn't know.  Patience won out and she became quite reliable about crossing water.  The photo above was her first introduction.

A short time later, she was quite reliable.

Like many teenaged girls, I liked to dress my horse up a little.  She wore plastic bags on her feet, a rain slicker and a helmet.  Safety first.

And I was able to keep learning.  We did a sanctioned trail trial, which was pretty cool.  I had never done one before and didn't know what to expect and it was my first time taking her out by myself.  It was hot, but we survived and we learned.

Unfortunately, I went to university in another state and wasn't able to bring her back with me.  It's always something I regret.  But at the same time, I know she was well cared for by my family.  

I went back on summer break and decided to do more typical things I thought would be fun like jumping.

And Star obliged.

Don't think she was push button, because she wasn't.  But she was always enough of a challenge to make me think a little, but not dangerous to play around with.

But unfortunately, I had to face reality at some point.  She had Degenerative Joint Disease in a knee that was affecting a hind hock.  Soundness was a concern at time. 

So I focused more time on just hanging out.  I decided one summer that I wanted to teach her to do a turn on the forehand.  Should be easy enough, but I didn't grow up on horses that knew lateral work.  My usual experience with horses while younger was trying to do variations of walk, trot, canter, and gallop with bareback in a large herd being the ultimate goal.  I was actually in college before I ever actually rode a horse that knew any kind of lateral work at all, so I was quite smitten with the idea of a turn on the forehand (or haunches, or leg yield, but I digress).

So turn on the forehand it was.

And so I diligently taught her how to do such a turn on the ground.  Then one day, I climbed aboard when she was feeling spry and gave it a go.  Much to my amazement the button actually worked.

I wish I could say there was an idyllic happy ending and she is in my backyard now hanging out.  But heartbreak and horses often go hand in hand.  I regret not being there, but I'd like to think she still knew of my love and kindness.  

So sometimes, it's just another lingering memory of a first horse.  A sweet horse to whom I owe much experience in lessons of compassion and horsemanship.

Thank you Star Runner


  1. Beautiful wonderful star! I did love those plastic bag videos.

    1. Me too. I wonder if I have anything from my old harddrive. I lost a lot. :(

  2. Sounds like she was a lovely creature. There is nothing like your first horse.

    1. Of course, so much to learn from the first horse and so much more to go.

  3. You know child, I really did not understand that mare much, but than again who said I was really listening.... But to know how much she influenced you in becoming the wonderful person you are today, all I can say is, Thank You Star Runnier, you were ever so much worth all the time and trouble and I do truly miss you and you peculiar ways.

    1. Truly peculiar, for sure, but then again, so am I.


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