HORSE A DAY 15
I've ridden so many horses that I can't count them on my hands, but the story of Dixie and me is my favorite:
Approaching my late 20s, I was so lost. I wouldn't admit it to anyone, except myself. I had suffered heartbreak and extreme loss, and didn't know where to turn my attention. From the outside, I looked like I had everything together due to my obsession with perfection and pride. But in all honesty, I felt like I was stranded in a desert with nothing surrounding me to help me navigate towards a general sense of direction.
The pure beauty and therapeutic feeling of horses always pulled me in like a magnet. I've been around horses since I was a young child, as my grandpa and uncle threw us kids on them any chance they could. I didn't really start taking riding seriously until I entered college, which was 5 years of pure anxiety and stress. Riding horses helped me try to control the uncontrollable.
One day my trainer reached out and told me about a new horse at the ranch. During this particular period of time, I was planning on moving south to Alabama, so I was sub-consciously starting to wrap life up here in Santa Barbara. Still, I decided to head to the ranch and hop on this horse and give her a ride.
I'd like to say that I jumped on her and our ride was utterly perfect like one sees in Hollywood movies. It wasn't. She tested every lead or command that I gave her. I could immediately tell she was fiesty and that she required a lot of time in order for me to gain her trust. However, she also gave me little glimpses of her heart with her random head hugs and cuddles. After each loving hug, she would take her head and push me over. It was one extreme to another.
Obviously, I fell in love with her. We were the same: Fiesty, a little passive, yet still assertive, loyal, affectionate, had clearly gone through hurt/loss, slightly impulsive at times, bubbly, but not too quick to trust anyone.
I asked what her name was. She was named Dixie. I don't know how familiar you are with Alabama, but the state's slogan is, "The Heart of Dixie." Was it a sign? Maybe, maybe not, but I took it as one.
Dixie is my girl, my other half. The first one I run to in times of extreme emotions, whether its happiness or sadness. She's there to greet me with a head hug and follow it up with a push to the dirt. She humbles me every chance she gets. My life is better with her in it and I will always choose her. Because of her, I can heal
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Thank you for letting me paint your horse! It has been so fun!
I am grateful that you have been a part of this very special project!!
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