A Horse Named Boogie

Only Once

Only Once

Its different this time, not just discomfort it’s pain, disabling pain his body is tense his eyes dark I am terrified. Hang in Boogie, help is coming, relief on its way. He was down, thrashing, sweating and obviously in pain, the vet cant come soon enough, hurry Doc he needs you.

Boogie by the Bey, is his registered name, Boogie Boy to me. My love, so much more than a horse, he is my escape my muse. We came about so differently than any other horse I owned, we didn’t pick each other, more like a desperate time for us both, thrown together out of need.

I had lost my horse of 10 years, Mr. Man, an unnamed gelding that found me when I ,finally, was able to have horses in my life again. It was sudden, he had suffered a heart attack and taken away in a minute. I was without a horse for the first time in years. Boogie belonged to my husband, Danny, who several months prior had lost interest in riding him as he was such work, always, and months prior we purchased a large quarter horse named Hank for Danny, a silly head down no fuss gentle giant.

Boogie without a rider and me without a ride, thrown together out of need, not choice. I was really quite terrified of him, his reputation was one of “everyone has been thrown by him at least once”, yuck not what I wanted in a horse. I had watched my husband ride him for months, and each time I marveled at his ability to stay on that horse. My time with Boogie was to groom, feed and lead about our small ranch. I did enjoy him on the ground so sweet and beautiful, his tail high and proud he was stunning to watch, but still I feared him under saddle.

I can recall the day I decided to ride him, my dear friend Val was wanting to head to our local hills to enjoy the day and said “lets take him out, I think its the way Danny rides him that makes him so spirited, he will be different for you”. I agreed but in my head the story being told was more like, sure he will… today is the day I die. Danny assures me that Boogie posses no mean bones in his body, just sit in the saddle with pockets and heals down, be ready for his spin, “ride ready girl”. Does my husband want to get rid of me? Really, I was terrified… but what else was I do to, buy another horse and let this beautiful creature sit? Off to the hills we headed….

He was tall, long and lean, beautiful, really he was stunning, the prettiest horse I ever sat. His tail held high, his legs would step high his head high and proud, a picture of strength and beauty, I was proud to ride him, but terrified.

Mounting him was tough, he would not hold still it was step up, throw your leg, sit, ride… Ready set go, my heart pounding and my friend Val encouraging me all the way. We were off, he was at the front and I had no idea what I was doing…. just sitting pockets down, heels down, eyes huge, teeth grinding, my heart pounding along with his hoofs. In my head I chant I can do this, it’s a horse you’ve ridden for years, its horse, you’ve ridden for years….

My ride was so elating, such a high, I rode in alert the entire time but it was like a drug that brought joy and power, I was hooked. That day was to change my life forever.

In his prior ownership, as we were his second, he was a show horse, dressage was his life. He was familiar with the arena and loved to show off. Trail riding was new to him and everything scared him, rocks, dead trees, water, wind you name it, it terrified him. We never knew what would make him spook and jump ten feet sideways. Horses are herd animals, they find their strength in herds. If one spooks they most often all spook and the rodeo is on. As you can imagine friends really didn’t enjoy riding with us. Only Val and Pie would be the ones who would understand Boogie and his fears, my friendship with Val would just grow even deeper, and our horses would develop a love between them, yet another gift of this horse.

Each ride with Boogie was different than the last, most often we were in the front and circling to slow down and stay with our group. We spent much of our time alone, together, our ride was always intense and as one. We rode many hours together, at many different places, different terrain, different horses, and it never changed, he was terrified. I learned to read him, ready for his sideways jump, I was not terrified any longer just wanting him to enjoy our rides, not sure we ever really accomplished this.

Boogie never showed hesitation to go with me, he would load in the trailer with out thought and look out the window with wonder, off to the next destination. When we arrived, he would unload with grace and respect looking around to see just where I had brought him now. I would tie him to the trailer, groom him with the same thought, what will our day be like? Will we survive? Will I be asking too much of him today? Will we endanger our group? It was always with trepidation that I would take my boy out, in nine years that ever changed. It was step up, throw leg, sit and go, pray…always.

I have heard it all, it’s you, it’s dangerous, get him training, there is not trust between you, he feels your fear, this breed is not for trails, on and on. It really wasn’t any of this, I was not fearful of him, there was trust between us, he had years of training, and who is to say a breed isn’t for trail riding, aren’t they all different. I understood their desires to help, but really I didn’t want or need it. Boogie was never mean, he never showed his power, quite the opposite, he showed his fear and trust with a soft, but spirited side. I never wanted to break his child like spirit it was harmless and I so enjoyed the ride. So soon there were few who would ride with us, I didn’t really care and I learned to issue my disclaimer before the ride.

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