So I took a chance and Lissell became my first horse. On her trip across the country she became a favorite of the shippers and they asked about buying her from me, but of course I said no (I think that this was actually the first and last time someone tried to buy her from me ... I guess the market for big, bay mares with attitude is limited!). Our first couple of years together were a bit rocky and not always pretty. Ten years ago I was a young professional with dreams of Rolex, and Lissell was not like my other horses. She had a clear opinion and there was no telling her what to do. There is much truth to the saying, "Tell a gelding, ask a mare," and I admittedly learned this lesson the hard, and slow, way. Looking back, I'm not sure why Lissell never bucked me off and told me to get a life. But it wasn't all bad, and I gradually got my act together and we competed a bunch, moving from Beginner Novice to Novice with our eye on Training. Unfortunately, things were not to be and Lissell tweaked her back requiring a lot of time off.
|The early years ...|
|Another shot from the early years ...|
And now, 10 years later, you could say that Lissell has become the horse that I always wanted. We've competed a lot over the past few years, and I've schooled jumps so big that my eyes have bugged out of my head. We can successfully school on the flat without wanting to kill each other, and dressage has become *gasp* enjoyable. Ten years is a long time to learn how to ride a horse, but in this case, it's the reality. And while I would like to think that I've become a technically more proficient rider in the last 10 years, I know that our recent success has nothing to do with technical skills. Simply put, I have learned to appreciate Lissell for who she is and what she has to offer. She is a horse that will try her heart out for you, but you have to be willing to hear what she has to say about it. But when you have her on your side, the possibilities are endless and she has gone from strength to strength over the past year or so.
|At our first Training-level event together ... she was 20.|