In what seems like the distant past, I was a semi-professional horsewoman. I bred, trained and showed the magnificent Andalusian horse. I can’t expound enough on the virtues of this breed—they are loyal friends, beautiful, talented, agile (they are the bullfighting horses of Spain!) and even the stallions, though fiery, are docile.
After I sold my soul mate, Bonito, my partner of many years, I bought a pure white stallion named Alegre. Bonito was my first Andalusian stallion and remains king of my heart of horses today, though I loved Alegre dearly. While Bonito and I showed in almost every class in horse shows from dressage to musical freestyle (we did a performance to The Phantom of the Opera) to hunter hack, Alegre and I played. We’d share a beer and a carrot at a small, local horse show or at the Florida Renaissance Festival. We were buddies. He would rear on command and awe his audience.
If I’d been born a century or two ago when horses were a means to an end, I wouldn’t have felt like they were a transport from one point to another. As with cars today, I love the moments of the journey—the power, the speed, the pleasure of being with that spiritual companion or mechanical beast—whilst arriving at the destination.
I love horses. The best horse, in my humble opinion, is the Andalusian of Spain or the Lusitano of Portugal—cousins. The Andalusian is a pure breed with ancestors going back millennia in cave paintings. The Lusitano is a blended, but now recognized pure breed. If I was capable of riding 5 horses a day the way I did when I was a young mom and owner of a horse farm, I’d have a palomino Lusitano stallion. But I’ll never forget Bonito. He isn’t with us anymore. I have his ashes in my closet. He wasn’t a character I imagined and fell in love with as I did the hero in my first novel. He was real, and he was wonderful. He was twice national champion at Halter, won several special awards and numerous blue ribbons in all the disciplines of the show ring, including, once upon a time, a Western class where he did the Spanish Walk down the long side of the arena. The judge said, “Nice, but not for a Western class.” I smiled, thanked her, bowed Bonito (not for a Western class either) and left the ring at the Spanish Walk.
Piaffe by a palomino Lusitano stallion:
Happy Friday, everyone — Linda