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Don Jessop

To read part 1, click here: " A Christmas Story for You and Your Horse"
To read part 2, click here: " A Christmas Story for You and Your Horse"

"Hope," the rider standing next to the tall grey mare announced. "We named her Hope because she inspires a brave new world. Would you like to ride her?"

The young girl, whose dreams were coming true right before her eyes, bobbed her head up and down with enthusiasm. She accepted the helmet the rider handed to her and reached for the reins. With the riders encouragement the young girl climbed the mounting block and leapt onto the horses back with the ease of an athlete.

"Before you start..." the handler on the ground continued, "Remember, this horse doesn't know you. These first few minutes are important. This is where she gets her first impression of you. Are you going to be kind, rude, strong, weak, graceful, tactless, patient, hurried, happy, or grumpy? It's important to decide right now. What impression do you want this horse to feel? How do you want her to remember you? And... What is your intention while on her back?"

All the questions gave the young girl a sense of trepidation. She'd never thought of horses in that way. She always knew she loved horses but she never considered whether the horse loved her back. The new thought of having a horse that was more than just a tool or toy gave her pause at first, but as the thoughts soaked in, they gave her a new sense of inspiration for an even deeper partnership and brighter future. She beamed with hope and smiled when she realized why they had given her that name. She took a deep breath and allowed her mind to clear. She focused on her intention of giving a great first impression. She thought about her goals and what she'd like to experience during this first ride. She thought about big dreams of galloping through fields, jumping, and riding with friends. Then she narrowed those big dreams down to smaller and smaller things until she felt certain that this new potential partner of hers could confidently perform without hesitation or fear. The handler on the ground noticed her new sense of inner peace and power and let go of the reins, giving complete control to the new horsewoman atop the majestic thoroughbred.

Twenty minutes later the young girl beamed with pride as she slid off the horse's side, landing next to her father. "What do you think?" he asked, already knowing the answer. "Should we take her home with us?" The girl didn't hesitate to answer, and in that moment, as if the horse could hear the question, the young silvery mare reached around to connect with the girl in what seemed to everyone a sign that the partnership was off to the right start. "Let me handle the paperwork here while you cool down with your new horse," her father suggested. And with that, she wrapped her arms around her horse's neck for a heartfelt moment, then took off the saddle and walked about the arena with her horse close behind the whole time. Over and over in her mind she kept thinking how magical and impossible this all felt, yet here she was, walking in the sand with six feet instead of two, as her dreams turned to reality.

A few hours later, she and her father cracked the truck doors open once again, stepping up into the cold cab for a long ride home. As the truck started and the heat began building up in the cab, the trailer attached to the truck, rocked back and forth and a whinny came from inside. The pretty young mare standing alone in the trailer began to sense a big change in her life. Her father noticed the commotion too and looked to his daughter saying, "Not to worry doll. Horses always get a bit excited with transitions from one place to another, it's part of the process we just have to be okay with." Sensing his daughters concern for the horse, he added, "She's a good horse, but she's going to need a good leader more than ever these next few weeks. She's going to wonder why she has to leave her family, where she's going, all those things. Do you think you can give her the reassurance and clarity she needs?" His daughter sat up tall, cleared her mind and nodded with confidence. In her heart she made a promise to her new equine friend that no matter what happened, she'd always be there for her, making sure she felt valued, loved, and never without a strong, thoughtful leader.

At that moment her father knew she'd be okay. Not just the horse, but the young horsewoman in the making as well. No doubt they'd need help along the way but the long drive home gave plenty of time to talk strategy. This day had shaped up to be everything they'd hoped for and more.

The old ford pickup with trailer in tow, shined brighter than it deserved, reflecting the bright, Montana winter sun and blue, cloudless sky. With smiles and waves from the homeowners, the truck and trailer bounced happily down the dirt road where the highways widened and a brave new journey was about to begin.

Author's note: Horses spark something magical inside us. People come to horses for many reasons. Among those reasons, is the heart to heart connection horses offer. Stories of that first horse always inspire the memory of that connection and can bring us back to why we started in the first place. Comment below and share your story. When did you get your first horse? What was it like? Do you remember the feeling? Do you still feel that today?

Thanks for reading, be sure to comment below. Sincerely, Don

Don Jessop - Blog Welcome

Hi! I'm Don Jessop

With Mastery Horsemanship

I write to inspire, educate and encourage you on your horse and personal journey.

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