Bearable lightness of humans with horses

Courtney Hampton on Fanny in Missouri (2011)

Considering all the events of the past week, I thought I would pass this e-mail along to you from Courtney Hampton who traveled to Oklahoma City on a mission to see and evaluate Fanny.  She bought Fanny and this is her comment on riding her the first day.

I just thought I’d give you an update on how Fanny is doing. We arrived at Heritage Place at about 5 a.m. Friday morning and loaded her and Diesel (the other mare we bought) up and headed to Missouri. It was about an eight-hour drive, but we stopped several times to let them stretch.   She handled everything very well. When we got her home (about 1:30 p.m.) we turned her and Diesel (aka Ms Royal Fever) out in the big arena (their new home for two weeks until the others get used to them).   As soon as we let them go they took off and started running and bucking.  They were definitely happy to get out of the trailer!  It was about 55 degrees out, so all my other horses started running around too.  (It hasn’t been that warm in weeks.)  What a sight to be sure!  Fanny was sure strutting her stuff! (I will attach pictures.)  She and Diesel ran around that arena for half an hour. So cool to watch!  After their energy had worn down some I threw some alfalfa out and they went to munching.  Later that day, about 4:30 or so, I went down and decided to ride them both for a few minutes just to see how they did.  I started with Fanny first as I wasn’t sure how the race mare was going to be (I’ve bought off the track horses before and they can be a little hard to handle).   I saddled Fanny and of course she just stood there like a pro.  I got on her and rode her around for about 30 minutes and put her through some paces just to see what she could do. She did everything I asked like a champ: roll-backs, counter-bending, side-passing, stop *which that mare can STOP!*  Then I took her out and walked her around the pasture that we have our weanling calves in.  Of course she was very alert and nervous but she never spooked — even when our flock of guinea hens flew by her.  She started shaking (poor baby), but then just snorted and walked on.  Since she was doing so good I quit her and unsaddled and fed her while I rode Diesel (who has a pretty good handle on her for a race mare and I was pleasantly surprised).

— Courtney Hampton to Jack Matthews, January 16, 2011

This is the sweet side of handing off horses to young people whose attachment to animals renews those of us that have become coarse.  Some of the bitter goes away when you hear-tell this kind of narrative.


Filed under Duncan Steele-Park, Horses, Life in Balance, Shiners Fannin Peppy (Fanny)

14 responses to “Bearable lightness of humans with horses

  1. Caralee

    I know this is a great relief. I remember well wanting to call and learn how some of the pets I got rescued or fostered were doing in their new homes. I couldn’t really let them go until I knew they were doing just fine, and Fanny is just that. Good job, Fanny!

    • Yes, good job, Fanny. We took them to the best sale of the season, a kind of Christie’s auction of sorts for horses. I had the option of not selling if I wanted. I could make the last bid.

  2. Thanks for this – it is good to read it.

  3. Karen Rivera

    I feel how difficult this is for you and I wish there was some way to make it easier, like you did for me. Just know that David and I celebrated Lilly’s life with whiskey toasts in the backyard and we’ll toast to Fanny, too.

  4. Thank you for sharing this!

  5. Wonderful letter! The next chapter in this book looks like it will be a bit less bitter and whole lot more sweet. Thanks for keeping us posted. I have thought about your pals several times this week.

  6. Jack,
    It must be soothing, to hear this report from the kind young lady who now has the care of Fanny. Loss is tempered by such things. Time will take care of the rest. Perhaps even tomorrow morning you will wake up, look out to the pasture, and see another door that has opened.
    Best Thoughts,

  7. Kittie Howard

    I am greatly relieved after reading Courtney’s e-mail. She seems to have a knack for horses and has bonded with Fanny. Youth has a way of wearing a brighter face and moving forward that eases the heart. You’re weathering a really tough period nicely.

    • I had written you an e-mail and it would be a post about Lilly on the day she was put down. I wanted to write in more detail, you see, about what happened. The post is written, but I don’t know if I will ever publish it. I can say this, Lilly was in tune with me to such an extent that even when she lost her balance in the haunches she did not panic because she was listening to me and knew we were working with her. No panic, just peacefully came down at our feet. Horses if they trust you will follow you over the barricades into the fires of war. Lilly trusted. No panic. We humans should never betray that trust that horses place in us.

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