It was a little over six years ago when I started riding Precious. She was a sassy green 4 year old and I was a novice rider. In retrospect, the story makes a lot of sense, but it was heartbreaking, frustrating and exhilarating all at the same time. Precious would follow any horse anywhere. As long as another horse was brave enough to do it, that was fine with her. She behaved well for Bruce because he trained her (see how square she is in that picture for him???).
But on her own, Precious was nervous and jittery. She sure didn't trust me (do you blame her?) and her strength and ability to outwit me only seemed to get better. I was a novice and she was smart. oy.
In time I got some help, but the road has been long and hard. She is very aggressive to other horses, she is stubborn and willful. Even though she is full of talent, she hates the show ring and everything it brings including the most terrifying noise in the world: applause. She has foundered and been diagnosed with Cushings Disease. Like I said, it has been a long road.
But she was my first horse. And although it is hard to really determine, she is most cherished horse. At one time I thought I was going to sell her. That lasted two days. She is my horse forever and because of the Cushings it might not be as long as I like, but I'll try to make the most of it.
But after our last showing disaster, I retired her from the show ring. Instead, I take her to open fun days and trail obstacles. She takes care of Uriah when we go trail riding and is my lesson horse. Now, we have a blast.
Most of my Paso Fino friends have seen her in the show ring. I am terrified, Precious was terrified and I was constantly stressed. Everyone saw my horse at her worst. And it used to be so important to me that I wasn't thought of as a horse 'idiot'. Now, I don't care. I know my horse is fantastic, that you can give little kids rides on her and she will be gentle and caring. She will sass and obnoxious rider (you know, one of those people who thinks they know everything but do not) and make them actually work for what they want.
And on days that I just want to ride and feel some sense of sanity, she gives that to me. She lets me experiment with my riding, experiment with my training. Today I tied the rope on the rope halter and rode her on that most of the time. It was a first. It worked quite well.
I love her so much. I hope that someday she will be the horse for my kid (if I ever have one) or for my nieces and nephews (if I ever get those). She will graze in my pasture until she is ready for greener pastures.
Precious, thank you for all that you have given me. Thank you for your patience while I was learning and the willingness to learn with me. Thank you for your understanding and flexibility in trying new things. Thank you for expressing yourself and helping me figure out what does and does not work for a particular horse. Thank you for your work ethic and how you keep those geldings away, but never hurt them. Thank you for challenging me and making me a better owner, a better rider, a better person. Thank you my beautiful girl.
Top Left: Jerri & Precious at old barn in Portland. The property was being taken over for housing development, and shortly after the picture was taken, huge steamrollers were going over that huge mound behind us.
Right: Precious w/Bruce Reed, breeder and trainer, 2 years of age (SO CUTE)
Left: Jerri & Precious, Pacific Gaited Showcase 2005, Amateur Owner Paso Fino Pleasure Champion
Right: Jerri & Precious, Pacific Gaited Showcase 2003, Barrels (we got last, but it was so much fun!)
Bottom Left: My sister Julia with Perry (in the saddle), my best friend's daughter, on her first horsey ride w/Precious (of course)