The Looking Glass
By Michelle Deden
I never thought I would fall in love with anything else the way I did with Sue, the way we went together. The second I had laid eyes on her it was love at first sight. She was me, I was her, and we were one sole entity working together. I couldn’t see it any other way. Sue may just be an old bony nag to you; but in my eyes she’s something different. When you meet somebody for the first time, you have this barrier; kind-of like a wall to pass, or as I sometime’s call it a first glance judgment. When I first met Sue, I reached my hand out to pet her and she did something unusual in my mind for a horse. She pinned her ears back to striking mode, and spun her age-old head in circles. My first reaction was to flee my hand from her before she took a chunk off of it. But when the same head motion occurred over and over again, I just could resist. Something about Sue struck me right then; what caused this? I didn’t know, she was getting into her geriatric age so it could’ve happened years ago or mere weeks but what really mattered was once she learned to trust me. After that I couldn’t keep my hands off her. Whenever my mind would travel, it would always take a pit-stop on Sue. She was my horse, my love, and everything about me shined through to the heaven’s when I was around her. I cherish every moment with her, my old nag. But this story isn’t about this horse, it’s about another horse who I considered a nag. Who, at first glance was “a mule-brained and mule-lookin’ mustang.” But every horse has a story, and here’s Pilgrim’s.
Pilgrim was one of twenty yearling selected to be trained for an Extreme Mustang Makeover; in which the trainer’s have roughly ninety days to train them and then they get adopted out into new homes. Pilgrim was a brown little gelding with black mane and tail or in horse-talk, a bay. Pilgrim, meaning he’s traveled a long way, became my horse for the competition. And I could tell you right-off-the-bat I was not happy about this. Out of all the mustangs I could’ve gotten, I managed to get the one that reminded me of “Uncle Sam.” This was nothing like the relationship I had with Sue. With Sue it was love at first sight. With Pilgrim…”you mean I got him?” But you would be surprised what a little time can do to you.
Pilgrim took all of twenty minutes to learn to lead and let me pet all over him. And by the fourth day I had a saddle on him. But something inside me just wouldn’t like this horse. Not until now, Day 67 when I’m looking over all the pictures of me and him; and we are doing all these cool things like laying down and standing on his back. I found a picture of him jumping a fallen over tree, his legs tucked underneath his and his eyes closed shut. That’s when it hit me like a lightning bolt, this horse really trusts me. And I didn’t even notice, sixty-seven day’s for me to see the light. To see Pilgrim’s light glowing in the darkness; lighting up my path to victory. Sixty-seven days later…
But don’t get me wrong, this horse wasn’t always the perfect little angel. I remember days when he drug me around the ranch because he didn’t want to jump the barrel outside the pen. And just a week ago when I was cleaning out his feet, the horse stepped on my foot and just turned his head as if to say “well aren’t yah gonna move that? It’s kind-of under my foot…” But the worst of all things was the electronic shaver…Pilgrim’s worst enemy. You see for show horses, you shave the whiskers from their nose and around their eyes, under their chin, and a bridle notch so that the halter with lay flat. And about the first month in I decided it was time for him to get his nose shaved…he had other ideas. He flung his head behind a tree where I couldn’t reach his and when that did work, he would just back up until the shaver’s plug become taught and fall out. He wasn’t scared of it either, he was just being belligerent!
Pilgrim’s had his good days and his bad days, but something about him is making it really hard to let him go. With Sue we have this bond because we are alike. But with Pilgrim, we have this connection that’s irreplaceable, something you look at and say “Wow! Did we really do that?” I’ve never had another horse like Sue, and Pilgrim will never be just like Sue. But the two horses have one very special thing in common; they both have a very special place in my heart that nobody could ever replace. I just don’t know how I’m going to be able to say good-bye to him…My Pilgrim…