My motto for this year’s A to Z is “Animals in my life – stuffed or alive”.
Remember Flikker, the horse that so patiently taught me the basics of horse riding? I loved him dearly, but the day came where I no longer was a beginner and other riders needed a calm and relaxed horse more than I did. And I took to heart what the more experienced riders told me: “You need to be able to ride every horse, when you want to be a good rider! Everybody can learn to ride just one horse.”
Enter “Nizza”, an experienced and intelligent chestnut mare. With every move she exuded elegance and pride. But she didn’t cut her riders any slack: You wanted her respect, you had to earn it. And when she was in heat, things could get really nasty: She would whinny all the time, follow every stallion and wouldn’t listen to what her rider wanted.
On the other hand, once you established a relationship with her, she was very willing to work with you. But not every rider wanted to take the time. I am very glad I was patient enough, because Nizza was a very good dressage teacher. She knew every move up to low Intermediate Level Dressage, but she refused to do something she didn’t understand. She made me really work hard on my cues, what improved my riding skills a lot. And being the good teacher she was, she knew students need to be rewarded to keep going: On good days, her canter was just out of this world, it was like sitting in a rocking chair. Her trot made me feel like I was a queen. But as I said, I worked hard for this pleasure!
I even was allowed to ride her on some competitions, as on the picture above. We never won, but riding her always was a very special occasion for me.