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When we started the heart horse blog series, I did not have any intention to write about my horse, Wyatt. I absolutely adore him, but he doesn’t feel like an extension of me the way my horse Josh did. However, over the last few months he has helped me through some of the most heartbreaking and challenging times in my life so far. And it recently occurred to me that just because my relationship with this horse is very different from the relationship I had with Josh, it does not mean it is any less special. While he is not really the horse I wanted him to be when I bought him, but he is 1000% the horse I need in my life.
***Please note that I am not saying every horse you meet or own will be your heart horse. I have owned or leased several other horses; I just happen to be lucky enough to have had two that are very special to me. ***
While Wyatt and Josh have some striking similarities, both being push rides with an affinity for vet bills, they are very different horses. Josh was polite and steady and tolerant of my mistakes; Wyatt is very open and sassy wearing his heart on his sleeve. Josh could stand for HOURS being groomed and loved on, Wyatt tolerates my annoying need to groom him, in exchange for treats or time hand grazing. They both love kids, but Josh did not love beginner riders, he tolerated them, but wouldn’t really listen to them. Wyatt LOVES the chance to have an “easy” day with a kid or beginner adult.
Josh would have hated it here in Alaska. He hated the cold, went WILD in the wind and could be a bit jittery on a solo trail ride. Wyatt however is unfazed by all of those things. Heck I have ridden through the start of a wind storm with gusts of wind swirling snow around us and he didn’t put a foot out of place while I rode BAREBACK in a HALTER. I would not have even bothered to sit on Josh in that kind of weather, knowing full well it would have been a disaster.
When I purchased Wyatt, I had no idea that a year and a half later, we would be moving to Alaska. I bought him with the hopes of turning him into a 3foot hunter/ hunter derby horse, but a lack of a clean and smooth lead change makes that next to impossible. Now that we live in Alaska, my focus as a rider has shifted significantly. Riding is significantly less about showing, and mostly now about enjoying my horse, with the hopes of attending some schooling shows this summer. Wyatt is a bit of a jack of all trades, master of none. He jumps well enough to be a hunter, but doesn’t have a clean lead change. He is bold enough for the jumper ring, but doesn’t have the speed. He will happy go play on cross country, but wants no part of a water crossing. He will happily do dressage, but just isn’t super interested in the work it takes to win in the sandbox. But Wyatt will happily go along with whatever I try to make him that day. He will trail ride down the street, do whatever discipline I try that day, or cart around a friend’s 5-year-old all with care. His willingness to literally do whatever I throw at him, is exactly what I need right now.
I read a post on Facebook the other day talking about the “mistake horse” the one that you fall in love with even though they are less than perfect for what you wanted them for, but still wonderful. I could look at Wyatt as a mistake horse, but that name just sounds wrong to me. Sure, when you buy a horse, you generally have a plan or intentions for who that horse is supposed to be, and maybe they don’t live up to them, but is that the horse's fault, or the human's? I think calling them a “mistake horse” sounds like they were wrong for you. They may not have served their exact or intended purpose, but they taught you so much more than that. Wyatt is not my “mistake horse” he is simply not what I wanted, but instead everything I needed. And somehow in all of that he has wormed his way into my heart in a very unexpected way. He has supported me through some pretty big life changes including a cross country move, a chronic illness diagnosis and loosing Josh. In all of that if he was what I wanted him to be, he wouldn’t have been what I needed him to be.
Heart horses come in all different shapes and sizes, you just have to open your mind and your heart to see the special magic that can come from even the most unexpected equine.