This Old Horse is My Best Friend
I worry about my oldest horse constantly. Is he going to die? When will he die? How will I go on without my favorite horse?
From the first moment I laid eyes on his big white blaze and chestnut colored coat I adored him! Who cares that he liked to bolt off with me, or that I went home with a nasty bruise the first time I ever groomed him. That’s the thing about life, you can’t always be rationale or else you won’t enjoy the ride. So despite the fact Aspota wasn’t the right horse for jumping (he has a long back, small feet and used to bail out on more fences than he actually went over), was too spooky for a 10-year old, and happened to be trained western, I just had to have him. When my parents finally agreed, I never looked back or doubted my decision. So what if our credentials didn’t line up on paper, our hearts beat together as one.
Since we were both 10 years old, Aspota and I have trained under many trainers and ridden at a number of barns, he’s lived indoors, outdoors, and we’ve even scored our fair share of blue ribbons. And when I was in eighth grade all of this ridding the two of us were doing caught up to him, and he got injured. Really injured. With a torn suspensory ligament, he couldn’t be ridden for an entire year. But as patient as a 13-year-old can be, I brought him back to recovery, and not long after my parents blessed me with the barn of my dreams: Aspota was moving to our house!! Before we got horse property he lived 20 minutes down the freeway, and so getting to see him from my parent’s bedroom window filled me up with such excitement. And when my parents pissed me off, I saddled up my horse and ran away—only to return the moment it got cold and dark. Aspota and I share so many memories, ones from the past and ones that continue to unfold.
Every morning before work I drive about 12 minutes to my parent’s house where Aspota still lives. No matter how early it is he can always put a smile on my face with his greeting, a big girly nicker. I undeniably adore the horse; he’s a gate to my past and a slice of heaven in my present. In so many ways he’s my best friend, I talk to him endlessly, he probably wishes I’d shut up sometimes, but as long as I slip him a carrot here and there he’s happy enough. All of this time spent together and I know him like the back of my hand. He’s about to bolt? I see it in his eyes. And whenever we canter, it still feels the same as it did all those years ago, the smoothest canter I’ve ever ridden. I’m so blessed to still be able to ride Aspota now that he’s in his mid-twenties. I treasure every ride that we share together, hopeful for many more years of horseback riding fun, but aware that every day is a gift with old horses.
I know I’m not the only one out there that has an older horse from childhood; an old friend they adore and worry over endlessly. Spot is a few months younger than me, so we’ve been ageing together for some 15 years, but while I still have so much life to live at 25, my baby Spot is an old man in horse years. I think it was when he turned 22 that the endless worrying began. Although lately, I’ve stopped feeling so stressed about it. He looked healthy and sound this morning, just as he does nearly everyday, therefore I’m taking comfort in how happy he is now, and how happy he will be until the very last day of his life. At which point I’ll fall apart like a big baby and not leave my bed for days. But I’m entitled to that, after all Spoty is my good old boy, my special man, he’s so many things to me, a shoulder to lean on, a back to sit upon, and a living, breathing being to care for. When I’m eighty years old and locked up in a nursing home, my family will stop visiting, sick of hearing the endless stories about Aspota, my first horse, my old trusty best friend.
To many more years with you Aspota Texas…