ASHA Thank You Letter to My Saddlebred: Walterway’s Latest News
Published Date: Nov 11, 2020
You are my heart horse. Everyday, I am so thankful that I have you in my life. You’re the kind of horse who makes me a better rider every time I swing up in the saddle. I appreciate that you are beautiful, smart, responsive, athletic, and very smart. It is these attributes that make me elevate myself every time I ride you. I can feel you thinking your way through training, and it makes me ride softer and smarter too. I can never repay you for all the lessons that you’ve taught me as a rider. I have had you in my life for 4 years now, and as our bond has grown, sometimes I feel like you can almost read my thoughts through the lightest of clues. When I received a compliment that our Trail pattern looked very smooth, I could only smile and be thankful that you are so willing and so in tune with me. I have never ridden a horse with so much heart and try.
One of the most special things about riding you, is that you make me feel confident. You are bold, game, and up for any adventure that I can think up – both inside and outside the show ring. I grew up riding and showing several green horses and challenging horses, and I still enjoy the thrill of working with a project horse. But, Kenzie, you were the first horse who really taught me to trust my horse in the show ring. When we are competing in our favorite class, Trail, you take such care to complete the obstacles cleanly. I feel like if I can just guide you through the pattern, you will give 150% effort to carry us over the obstacles without error. I can trust you to always rise to the occasion, and when the pressure is on, I know I can always count on you to be there for me in the show ring.
Your bold spirit and confidence have really helped me outside the show ring as well. You came into my life during the summer when my mom had passed away and I had a house fire. But riding you was always the bright spot in my day, and I try to put as much enthusiasm and hard work into my daily tasks as you bring to our rides.
I think one of the greatest things about you is that you have a really great sense of fun. You approach everything with this great enthusiasm and a “let’s go” attitude. As we ride up to the in-gate, I can literally feel your professionalism kick in. Your whole body and attitude shift into show-horse mode, and then you perform a great pattern in the show ring for me. Most people would probably think that you are a little too game to show in Western Pleasure and Trail, but I think it is part of your charm. You have taught me how to quietly channel your energy into thinking your way through the precise and intricate disciplines of Western Pleasure and Trail.
Your game attitude and energy make you very versatile. You are excited and willing no matter if I want to park trot down the rail, lope over some trail obstacles, or go for a gallop out in the pasture. You humor me at shows, always ready and willing when I want to show you in Western Pleasure, Trail, Hunt Seat, Saddle Seat, and even when I ask you to wear costumes. Thank you for approaching every class with a great sense of fun and willingness, and for always being ready to go on adventures with me.
Kenzie, you are the coolest horse I have ever had the privilege to ride. The best horses have big egos, personality quirks, and large opinions about their everyday routine. You certainly have all those things, but you also have a kind soul and the biggest heart I’ve ever known. You are smart and sensitive, and it is fun and challenging for me to elevate my skills match. You can read the slightest cues, and it is my goal to be the quiet, subtle rider that channels your skill and talent to be the best we can be together. The thrill of achieving this ultimate partnership has been the ride of a lifetime. The best days are when we are so in sync that I feel like your feet are the same as mine, and you are reading and responding to my cues with the slightest hint of movement from me. And on the days when things are just not going right, I know that you are teaching me to be better, more patient, and to be better at listening to my horse.
You helped me achieve my show ring dreams. Together, we earned four consecutive national championships in Working Western. When you lope so smoothly over trail obstacles, it makes my heartbeat faster, and you always put a smile on my face when you throw your tail over your back and park trot down the rail. We have successfully competed together in Western Pleasure, Trail, Hunt Seat, Saddle Seat, Horsemanship/Equitation, and Ranch Riding at large Saddlebred shows and open shows where we were the only Saddlebred there. All the ribbons are just icing on the cake compared to how much fun you are to ride – both at shows and at home.
It is a privilege to love you and to be loved in return by a horse as awesome as you, and I am honored that you try so hard at everything that I ask of you. Thank you for making me the thoughtful and confident rider that I am today.
Kenzie, you are brave. You are beautiful. And I am so glad that you are my American Saddlebred.
Ginny Beth Norton
This month ASHA will be featuring a series of special Thank You letters between some of our favorite Saddlebred combos across disciplines and levels of competitions! Regardless of how you are involved with the Saddlebred, they make us feel whole, fuel our fire, and teach us invaluable lessons about life and ourselves. This series is a way to share not only the love we have for our American Saddlebreds but spotlight all the areas of our life that we are grateful to have our four legged best friends awaiting us in the barn. Learn more about this special feature and contest today!