Highly Regarded

Me and My White Horse
Post: 

I'd been thinking about it for months.  Maybe even a year.  Then the day came and went, and I didn't even acknowledge it, at least not the way I should have.  I told a handful of people, "My old grey horse, Reggie, turns 30 today."

Reggie is my grand old lesson pony, left in the fabulous care of a dear friend in Colorado when I moved to Califonia in 2008.  It broke my heart to have to leave him, but it would have been selfish to uproot him and haul him halfway across the country at his age. 

I'd intended to write something sigificant, something memorable, something that would adequately capture the essence of the little grey horse that could.  But every time I sat down to tackle the task I realized just how much there was - just how big this little grey horse really is.

So many stories, so little internet!

Nearly eleven years ago, I had just arrived in Colorado and was in desperate need of a good "baby beginner" lesson mount for my newly established Premier Riding School.  A friend of a friend of a friend told me about this 19 year-old grey Arabian gelding, registered with the Purebred Arabian Horse Association as High Regard.  He was described as having "a lot of use left in him" and the owner was looking to give him to a good home so that he "didn't go to waste".  I'd like to say I rescued him from a nearly abandoned barn, regretfully leaving his stablemate behind, but I realize now that he saved me.  Because he quickly established himself as the safest, most trustworthy, most well-trained lesson horse I've ever had the privilege to call my own.  He became the anchor of my riding lesson program.

Reggie was the horse that endured bouncing, pulling and mixed signals as students learned the basics of horsemanship and balance.  Not that he was a dead-head or without flaws, but I quickly learned not to judge this rough, fleabitten, arthritic, old gelding by his cover.  He was smart.  Too smart, sometimes.  He was sensitive and opinionated (ask my vet!).  And he was funny.  As in, he laughed at his own jokes.  This little grey horse was unmatched in the humor department, and he reminded me to lighten up when I needed it.  So, I laughed with him.

He understood his job, and took it very seriously.  He didn't just carry people around - he safely instilled confidence in the most timid of riders, but knew when a student had turned a corner and was ready to take it to the next level.  He taught me how to teach people to ride.  Over the years I watched him humble countless riding students when they needed it, including advanced show riders and adults.  Just try getting on him with any inkling in your mind that you know more than he does.  Sometimes an advanced adult rider wouldn't be able to get him to trot.  At all.  He was his own version of, "So you think you can ride?"

But he was so much more than just any lesson horse.  I spent at least an hour a day with Reggie, usually six days a week, for seven years.  He was my business partner and my friend.  He taught my students every bit of horsemanship, from the ground up.  I used to tell people, "he teaches the lessons, not me!"  He didn't just teach students to ride, but to listen, as well.  Myself included.

But wait, there's so much more:  Reggie has touched the lives of so many, please complete his story, from your perspective, in the comments below.  Whether it's a whole story, or just a quick sentence, Reg and I want to hear from you!  Spread the word...there's a PRIZE involved - ten notecards with Reggie's face on them to my favorite comment before August 15, 2010!

Comments

Here, I'll Start!

girlbert's picture

Reggie continues to inspire me on a daily basis.  So much so that I made him the face of my new business

BTW - this is the image that will be on the notecards for "Best Reggie Story" left in these comments.

Reggie

I came into Reggie's life as he was transitioning into...retirement?  Is that the right word for a horse whose work here is clearly not done?   I have always appreciated this little grey horse's GIANT sense of humor.  I could tell funny stories about medicating him, watching the vet try to medicate him..about how anything that has to do with medication turns the little grey horse with missing teeth into a dragon.  I could talk about his "air pawing" at dinner time, or really at any time...and when my farrier became his farrier, and how he thought he'd "broken" him because he wasn't clued in to Reggie's air pawing. 

Instead I think a better story to tell is the one of the bond between this amazing horse, and his equally amazing owner.  Reggie and I are in Colorado...I get to see him almost every day.  Lisa is 1000 miles west, and I absolutely know when something is going on with Lisa based on what is going on with Reggie.  He had some bad days last year...and after scurrying to deal with him, and get him comfortable and feeling better...when there was time to breath and try to get ahold of Lisa to let her know what was going on with her horse...invariably she was having an equally hard time.  That is how insanely strong the bond between this lovely old soul of a horse and my dear friend is....I am humbled by it on a regular basis.  And inspired.  They have both been such great teachers for me, and I'm so grateful to be a part of both their lives!

I remember when I first

I remember when I first started riding with Lisa, I started riding Reggie and when ever I would get on him I would feel confident. But when I was most nervous he would show me that everything was ok and I trusted him as a lesson horse. And from riding him I have moved so far into the Arabian show world. I have been the best rider I have ever been and I always think of Reggie when I go into a class and come out winning.

My Reggie Story

Reggie was my daughter's first lesson horse. He taught Millie patience, strength and the wisdom not to stand directly behind him in the crossties :). He also made an awesome Native American in his war paint for Halloween parties. Happy Birthday, Reggie!!! Glad you are still with us!

Karen

REGGIE!!

  Reggie was the first horse I ever had a lesson on. We are all so deep into the arabian horse world and it really all started because of Reggie. He taught me to work hard, practice, and to always stay confident. It's been 4 years since I've seen Reggie, but i can remember almost every memory both me and my sister has had with him. My favorite memory with Reggie has to be with Shea. It was Shea's first horse show and was warming up on Reggie, but then he ducked his head under and Shea fell right over his neck. At the time we weren't to happy, but now looking back it is one of my favorite memories. I love that horse even till this day because he is really the one that made both Shea and I dreams come true! 

Anna Urgitus!

Reggie

Reggie, do you remember when we went to a horse show, and just before we went in the arena, you thought it would be funny to itch your nose on your leg....well, your little girl, Shea, didn't let go of the reins and she went over your shoulder and into the dirt! She had mud in her teeth and dripping down her new show clothes. I am sure you thought that was pretty funny. By the way, thanks for all the ribbons, we will always love you!

Reggies Birthday

I remember soaking my hands in bright coats of red and blue paint and leaving small 6 year old handprints on Reggie like a canvas for my first annual halloween horse show i always looked forward to. I think he was the best at the bobbing for apples. After all...he loved apples. I was his little Indian and he was my "battle horse."  I also remember he was the first horse i ever walked, trotted and cantered with as well as the first horse to step on my foot. A lesson well learned. And of course, Reggie earned me my first blue ribbon. It was a lead and I remember Mrs. Lisa telling me to smile as big as I could at the judges everytime we passed them and to sit up straight, something that for some reason took me a while to master . It must of worked. :)  Happy Birthday Reggie! What a great horse and a great teacher. <3

Reggie

This is my FAVORITE picture of Reggie- thanks so much for sharing this great story that I think describes who Reggie is so well! 

Reggie!

This is a wonderful birthday story and a great tribute to your animal companion!!  I regret having not met Reggie (yet! you never know!), but I feel like I understand a bit about his essence.  And as a friend, I am ever grateful to him for being by your side all this time in so many ways!  I DO know the way that our animal friends communicate with us, express so much, and teach us if we are willing and able to listen.  So glad you two have each other!

Great Stories!

girlbert's picture

Thank you all for your wonderful comments.  Made me cry a little bit.  I'm so happy to know that Reggie is loved and remembered by you all.  I will be sure to share your love with our deserving friend next time I get to see him!

Boyfriend and my parents will be determining the "Best Reggie Story" over the weekend, so I'll let you know early next week who gets the Prize: 10 notecards bearing Reggie's handsome likeness! (image below)

Reggie notecard image

In the meantime, it's not too late to share your Reggie story!  I know there are at least a couple more of you...

Hugs,

Lisa and Reg

We have a winner!

girlbert's picture

My three judges had a tough job, all of your stories were great!  My parents and Boyfriend each chose a different story as their favorite, producing a three-way tie between Anna, Millie, and Haidyn.  I had to recruit a willing friend as my fourth judge to break the tie yesterday, and this morning I had a winner:  Haidyn!

But because it was so close, I'm sending 10 notecards to Haidyn, and 5 each to Anna and Millie. Please email me with your current addresses.

Thanks so much for your submissions, everybody!  I really appreciate having these stories, in your words.  Reggie is one special guy, and we're all really lucky to know him!

Hugs,

Lisa

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