total sad face.
i can remember playing with my breyer horses with my sister, pretending to own herds and herds of wild horses, pretending our bicycles were horses as we pedled down our street, we begged our parents to buy a horse and we promised to love it forever.
our parents decided to teach us the responsibility that goes along with horses and set us up in riding lessons with Laura, the mother of one of my childhood friends.
our first lesson we didn't even ride a horse, we were really disappointed. we had to learn about the saddle, bridle, and different body parts, Laura even tested us.
then we could touch a horse by grooming it and picking their hooves... learning how to put a saddle on and get on and off by ourselves. which for a four foot little girl (damn im not that much taller) is pretty hard to do. but we learned and we could tack up a horse in our sleep if we had to.
after several years of riding Laura's horses an opportunity arose when a lady had a horse and foal she needed to get rid of. insert Bella here. i was about 12 the first time i saw Bella and fell in love instantly.
she and her foal had been put in a mustard patch and were both pretty sick from the toxins in mustard. after weeks of nursing them both to health, Laura took the baby horse and we had Bella. if i had a nickel for every time i've shoveled poop, picked her feet and brushed her i'd be a friggin millionaire.
the deal we had was in order to board Bella we had to pick up poop for all the horses twice a week. and we did. i would ride my bike to Laura's rain or shine, and once in snow, and spent a good two hours hauling manure. and most of the time i still pretended my bike was Bella.
there's something you should know about our Bella. she's a freight train. we tried everything to get her to lope like a western horse should, smooth and slow. not Bel, she would race around the arena passing every other horse several times. it felt faster when you were on her.
"HEELS DOWN!!!" Laura would scream at us.
okay you try putting your heels down when you're riding a rocket. let's see if you remember this when you're just trying to hold on for dear life.
you think as Bella got older she'd slow down. nope. not one bit. she would pin her ears, suck in her gut and flat out run.
one time she ran with me down the road and i fell off and got a concussion. that was fun. so that's why helmets were invented.
we decided to switch her to english and we did quite well together even learning to jump ...
again once at a show no less Bella decided not to take the jump and i did. no concussion there though.
Bella eventually also became a mounted unit horse for the sheriff's department. the girl is a tank. she had guns shot off her, helicopters flown over her head and had a beer bottle broken on her head during an out of control situation at a local college. she could swim through rivers and yet was a wuss about puddles. she'd jump them.
she's stubborn and pissy and is the best horse a girl could ask for.
tomorrow is going to be extremely hard, but i know she had a great 25 years of life and is going to be buried in a place we can visit her anytime.
i'd do it all over again though. her love was innocent and unconditional. she loved being sung to, sprinkled with a hose on a hot day and taking her mid morning naps.
good thoughts tomorrow. if there's a horse heaven Bella will definitely be running to her heart's delight.
here is Bella and me at our first competition
swimming in the river - promise im not drowning her
Laura riding Bella in the local parade... Bella loved the mounted unit.. she would get so giddy when they came to pick her up
my dad on Bella at one of our many campouts
my mom with Bella at a horse show... notice the blue ribbon? :) she is our champion
Happy Trails Bella ... may there be green pastures and lots of carrots for you....