Saturday, November 7, 2009
A Horse with a Heart
A few weeks after our veterinary tribulations with the cardiac-unfortunate mare, Marie-Valentine rang to tell me that Holger Münstermann, her contact in Germany, had found a few more horses that might be of interest to us, so I booked the flights and the three of us soon flew back to Germany. Unfortunately, when we arrived, one of the horses we were supposed to see had already been sold, another was lame, and yet another turned out to be a complete dud. We were shown a very nice ten-year-old mare, but I wasn’t completely convinced. Apart from not being a schoolmaster, she also had a weird habit of wobbling her lips while being ridden that got on my nerves. I was beginning to get worried; we’d flown all this way twice, and our equine budget was wasting away on travel expenses. Wasn’t there anything else we might see?
While my interest sparked and my ears pricked, my daughter looked disconsolate. “I don’t want to look at a fifteen-year-old horse,” she sighed. “I don’t see the point.”
But Olivia wasn’t convinced. She thought she’d be taken to see something resembling the poor old burnt-out riding school horses she’s spent years coaxing around arenas back home. Having lost her heart to the prancy little six year old mare with the heart malfunction, she didn’t want to be coerced into settling for an ironing board with a cast-iron mouth. Nevertheless, between the three of us, we managed to convince her to give this old fellow a chance, and drove over to Norbert Van Laaks’ stunning stables.
Finally, it was my turn. I’d ridden maybe ten times in seven years, but as soon as I sat on Kwintus, I felt as though I was…well…coming home. Frustratingly, while my body remembered everything, my muscles had a terrible time coordinating the memories. I bounced and jiggled most mortifyingly, but Kwintus didn’t bat an eyelid. It was as if he was saying, “Don’t worry, I know my job. Just try to let me know more or less what you want me to do, and I’ll figure out the details. I’ve been here before, so no stress, honey.”
Kwintus is now seventeen years old and in better shape than ever. He lives the life of Riley fifteen minutes away from my home in Switzerland, and whinny-chuckles whenever we greet him with a “Hi, Kwint!”. He introduced my daughter to dressage competitions, winning her a first place during their first outing together with an impressive score of 69%. He’s given me back my confidence and taught me all the high level fancy stuff. Riding him is as riding should be: sheer pleasure. On top of this, he also has a great sense of humour, and is the most affectionate, sweet-tempered, generous horse I’ve ever known. The marking on his forehead may be - geometrically speaking - shaped like a diamond, but Olivia and I definitely see it as a heart.
Of course we do; we love him to bits!
“Mucho Caliente! – Wish upon a Latino Superstar”
An effervescent romantic comedy
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