6 years ago, on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving I met Farley for the first time. I responded to a 2 sentence text only Bay equestrian network ad that listed a horse that was the right breed, age, and height and then stumbled through a phone conversation with someone that mostly spoke spanish and went and looked at her anyways because I needed "practice" looking at horses as I searched for that very special horse that was going to be my next endurance horse.
I like to celebrate this day, and not the day before Thanksgiving when I drove to the bay area with a horse trailer, white knuckled through holiday traffic to pick her up, because that first test ride was when our partnership really began.
I thought it was so unlikely that she was what I was looking for that I didn't bring any cash with me and assured the seller that I would be back in the morning, with the $1800 he was asking in cash. This was before the horse market crashed and I didn't even bother haggling.
It was 1/2 of what I thought I was going to pay for a horse and while I didn't fully understand just how well bred and perfect she was for what I wanted to do, it was one of the 3 times in my life a horse has clearly spoken to me, as if out loud.
She told me she loved the trail and wanted that to be her job. And that she would do her job well and take care of herself and me. And that I should give her a chance to prove herself because she was darn sure she could give me all I wanted in a horse.
And she was absolutely right.
She's by far the easiest, kindest horse I've ever ridden. I've never been scared or nervous on her back. She's NEVER thrown anything at me that I couldn't handle, and has ALWAYS taken care of herself and me in bad situations. She's taught me that horseriding is FUN and that I don't have to battle the fear in my gut against the love of the horse everytime I mount up.
She's taught me the value of genetics, breeding, and a pedigree.
She's taught me the value of a good minded horse.
She's conquered every phobia I have of riding and has fulfilled every dream I've ever had about horses. We've completed Tevis, gotten that cougar rock picture, galloped through trails, cantered bareback through meadows, jumped, swung sabres, shot pistols, and many more things I'm sure I take for granted now and have forgotten that I never had.
In return I've tried to repay her with kindness, fairness, and security. At one time, I thought I would resell her, as she's the only horse I've owned that had any kind of value to anyone but me, but it is now my sincerest hope that she will live a long and healthy life in my ownership for the rest of her days.
She was just as sweet and sensible as a 7 year old as she is now as an almost 15 year old. Not much has changed in 6 years, which makes it so unbelievable that so much time as passed. She's still an unassuming short, brown, mare with great feet. Physically she hasn't slowed down, and if anything is stronger every year.
There's a saying that you have the horse you deserve after owning it for 2 years, but it's hard for me to take credit for Farley. I've done a lot of thinking over the last week and tried to evaluate whether I was only taking credit for the "bad things" and none of the "good" but I've come to the conclusion that the things I can take credit for, whether bad or good aren't the things that really matter to me and are what this post are about. I can take credit for the fact she knows her canter leads, doesn't stand while mounting, can do a walk-canter transition, knows how to nicely go on the bit, sometimes takes liberties on the ground, doesn't stand under saddle all the time etc........and these reasons have nothing to do with why I love this horse.
I guess typically in these sorts of posts I would go through my pictures and chose some of my favorites of Farley over the years, but there's enough photos posted here of Farley over the years that I think the words alone mean enough.
Two days of heavy rains, flash flood warnings
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