It’s been a long journey.
Nearly 11 years ago, my mom and I drove up to a barn on a whim; we were looking for a horse I could grow up with and show in the junior medals at 3′. We’d tried a lot (I mean a LOT) of other horses, and I couldn’t seem to find that ‘moment’ where I knew I’d found the perfect teammate. On a blisteringly cold New England day, we decided to take a (almost literal) leap of faith and try a horse we’d heard about that had quite a bit of show experience. From the get-go, we knew he was way too big for me; the idea was that I might ‘grow into him’, since my last growth spurt had catapulted me out of almost all my show clothes. Despite tossing off my trainer, his current owner, and demonstrating that he left no buck half-assed (also quite literally), initially it seemed like I was not going to be going home with him. However, after managing to stay on and getting a chance to ride around, I was quite certain Crackers would be that ‘forever horse’ I was looking for.
I’ve put him through the craziness of the junior medal circuit in Boston, taken him to college and put him through the paces of the American National Riding Commission (ANRC), and even made him wear a number of ridiculous hats and jump things most horses wouldn’t (a light-up disco ball, a wrapping-paper covered gate, and an American flag among those things). I won’t say I’ve managed to stay on ever buck he’s thrown (and he throws a mean buck) but I’ve managed to work out the worst of our kinks. Not bad for 11 years. Though you’d never know it from looking at him, CrackerJack is celebrating his 19th birthday today…marking his last teenage year (and hopefully less bucking). I’m still going to show, and I still plan to jump him until he says otherwise, but I thought on his special day I’d take the time to just say thank you:
- For not throwing me into anything too painful
- For having a fairly good sense of humor
- For teaching me to stop leaning forward like an idiot
Happy Birthday Crackers, you’re the man.