The Friesians


Have I mentioned previously how much my horse loves Friesians? No, it’s not an affinity for all black horses because honestly, when all-black horses go by he hardly bats an eye. BUT, let a Friesian go by and he’s all a-twitter with excitement. Actually he gets absolutely stupid trying to get to them.

Last year at Breyerfest they had a troupe of Friesians performing. One of their demo’s was immediately after ours so as we were coming out of the arena, the Friesians were coming down the hill into the warm-up area. Hat totally forgot – where he was, what he was doing, that I was on his back. He practically fell over a cement wall trying to get up toward them. When he got within neck length he tried to reach out to them. I apologized to the lady riding. She said, “don’t worry about it, he doesn’t mind.” Not only was this a Friesian, but it was a stallion. Oh, and did I mention that he was HUGE. I swear even on Hat, I could see the bottom of her boots as she went past. Well, maybe that’s a little bit of an exaggeration.

Michele and I debated Hat’s infatuation with the breed. Maybe it was that they were so large. I thought it was because of the confidence the exuded. (Something both Hat and I lack!) We’ve tossed around numerous theories. But, last year if Hat seemed distracted we all knew there was a Friesian in the area.

We joked on the way down to Kentucky about the Friesians. Hat had gained a lot of confidence, would he still be enthralled? Wouldn’t it be funny if they were right across the aisle from us? Would I be able to get him away from the stall area if they were? When we arrived on Thursday afternoon, we got Hat set up in his stall and everything unloaded. We went to go drive away, but there was a trailer in the way at the other end of the barn. As it pulled away – lo and behold – there were Hat’s Friesians at the end of our stall aisle. Oh boy, this was going to be fun!

Hat actually was so thrilled to go to the arena that I don’t think he noticed the Friesians as we walked by their stalls. And trust me, I always tried to make sure they were in their stalls and not out in the aisles before we walked that way.

Sunday we went down early for closing ceremony. We were just hanging out when down the hill came the large black thundering herd. The dance troupe is called the Black Pearls and there are 5 stallions and a mare. They are phenomenal to watch, their riders make just slight, light adjustments and their horses perform the most sensational movements. It is awe-inspiring and inspirational – I dream of being able to ride like they do. Hat apparently still dreams of being one of them, or least near them because he was trembling with excitement.

We both watched their demo – I kept pointing out to Hat how lightly the cued, I’m sure he would have told me a few things if he could have. As they finished we stepped off to the side and got out of their way. And Hat’s dream came true – the entire troupe stopped dead in front of him. Hat was nose to knee with their largest stallion (that is not an exaggeration – he was HUGE.) Hat tentatively reached out to touch him – like a kid meeting the sports figure he has idolized since birth for the first time, I told him no and apologized to the owner. She said not to worry, Hat wouldn’t bother him. I explained Hat’s fascination and that he wanted a Friesian. She said I should get him one. Then I explained to her that Hat’s ground rules were that he could have his own Friesian when he could afford to take care of himself. I felt like my parents! She and I had a wonderful conversation while Hat snuzzled the shoulder of her huge stallion. At one point her stallion reached over and touched Hat’s face. I do believe he could have exploded with joy, he finally got recognition from his idol.

Yes, for Hat, this was a Breyerfest to remember. Not because we both relaxed and had a great time and actually enjoyed riding together; but, because one of his beloved Friesians paid attention to him. He could die a very happy horse after that experience. Maybe that was why he was so upset about me wetting him down on Monday. Displeasure with me washing off his idol’s little recognition, Hat was probably looking forward to going back to the barn and sharing the smell with everyone.

As we were packing up the barn and cleaning up, so were the Friesians. Hat watched with disdain as they loaded into the trailer and pulled away. I’ve never worried about Hat escaping from me, he’d never go far. BUT, I do believe that for a Friesian, he’d load willing into their trailer and drive away without ever giving me a backwards glance. So much for true love.

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