Thursday, November 24, 2011

Remembering To Be Thankful

Post-ride celebratory noms.

Add some carrots and you will have Harley's ideal Thanksgiving dinner.

I am thankful for a loving husband, Mom, and Dad, a caring extended family, a supportive and fun barn family and friends, a creative and challenging occupation, wonderful students and colleagues, a warm and cozy home, a ten-year-old Honda Civic that is still going strong, cheerful and chattering budgies, a smart and entertaining cockatiel, the health of my family and friends...

...and, of course, my horse, Harley.

I am so grateful for my sound, sane, fun-loving, energetic, versatile, and intelligent little buckskin quarter horse.  I am thankful every day and every time that I see his kind eyes, caress his soft muzzle, and swing my leg over his back.  Just how did I get this lucky?

Harley, always ready for action!

 Experiences outside of the usual, like the Turkey Trot, reveal Harley's character to me in ways that riding at home and in the arena cannot.  Pluck us out of our home and deposit us in an unfamiliar, busy environment with lots of different horses and riders who also exemplify numerous styles and philosophies of riding and Harley's preciousness will begin to shine through.  Take one of the last big canters in one of the last big fields of our ride for example.  A group took off in front of us and even though I am sure Harley wanted to run too, he did not tighten a muscle.  After I waited for some space between us and the group, I  whispered for Harley to canter and off he went, but it was not a breakneck speed, rushing-to-catch-up kind of canter.  His strides were big and ground-covering, which gained on the pack, but his ears continuously swiveled back to me.  His back was steady and comfortable.  It felt like the safest place in the world.  In mid hand-gallop, I checked to see if my horse would come back to me and Harley impressively shifted gears to a more dressage horse type canter, with an arched neck and rounded back.  I praised him immensely and then let him stretch forward again.  It is such a good feeling to be going at speed in a huge field, with a group of fast-moving horses ahead of you, and your horse still sees you as his leader and his first priority.  I know that Harley has a strong sense of self-preservation and after experiencing field jaunts and steep, descending slopes in the woods, I feel that it would be reasonable for me to conclude that he extends this self-preservation to me.  Thanks for keeping me safe, sweet Harley.

I have not forgotten you, my Blogger Friends!  I am thankful for your visits, your comments, insights, advice, anecdotes, and your blogging stories, photos, and experiences.  Sharing our lives with horses makes the journey so much more fulfilling and enjoyable.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Val and Harley


  1. Aw ... that gave me goosebumps! I could feel your love all the way here in California. That's some seriously strong emoting! Have a wonderful weekend.


  2. I hope one day to have the type of relationship with Val, that you and Harley do...

    Please don't forget to be thankful for how adorable Harley is too... his dark muzzle and ear tips just slay me! :)

  3. Great post :)!! Happy Thanksgiving!

  4. I can only imagine what a truly great experience it must have been to do that little check to see if Harley was still "there" while you were striding out. Very comforting indeed. He's such a good boy! You both have worked hard, and it shows. Happy Thanksgiving Val!

  5. He sounds like such a wonderful horse with a great mind. He's a testament to his breed ;)


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