Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Happy Endings

About five years ago I made the decision to buy a haflinger.
Now, if you know nothing about haflingers, I will fill you in...

Haflingers are small, 13 to 15 hands, draft horses from Austria,
 with an undeniable people-oriented personality.
They are gentle, hard working, and eager to please.
They are quick learners and are calm and sensible.
They are always a light chestnut color with flaxen mane and tale.

The thing about Haflingers is...
they will do whatever you ask of them....with a smile on their face.

Moonbeam at ten years of age embodies all of the wonderful qualities 
for which haflingers are known....
which is why I love this horse so much!

In his previous life he was an Amish work horse...
pulling wagons and farm equipment from sun-up to sun-down.

Having never been used as a riding horse,
he was in need of a bit of training.

Being a green rider, myself, our first riding encounters were tenuous...
with a few ending in injury (always mine).
As a result, fear set in...
and once fear gets a hold on your psyche, it is a hard thing to shake.
I toyed with the idea of selling Moonbeam, thinking that he would be better off having
a home where he could be worked.

The thing that kept me from selling him, though, was the fact that he was a very kind,
willing soul.
The accidents we had were never his fault...but always mine.
So selling him was not the answer.

For some reason at the end of last summer, after a couple years of no riding,
something in my soul just changed.
I was tired of feeling defeated when I spent time with Moonbeam...
tired of feeling guilty for giving him less than he deserved.
Don't get me wrong, he had a great life...what horse wouldn't want to graze and play all day?
But, horses also need work to keep their minds sharp.

And so, I got back on.
Ever so 
S. L. O. W. L .Y.

With my courage growing day by day,
I realized that the only way I would truly progress
 and develop the relationship that I longed for with him,
was to take lessons, and practice, practice, practice.

We are still just beginners,
but our relationship has blossomed with mutual trust 
and better communication than I thought possible.

Please excuse the wordiness of this post,
but the point I wanted to get across is this...
don't let fear keep you from doing something you like.
Get help to get started if you can.
Take baby steps, but keep walking in a positive direction,
knowing that there might be a few bumps in the road along the way.
Don't give up on yourself...
don't give in...
and when you trip, pick yourself back up and keep going.

Life is short and I am convinced the only things we regret in the end 
are the things we DIDN'T do.

PS: Moonbeam and I had another lesson yesterday...

we are trotting with regularity and having a blast!
(Increasing speed was a large component of my fear.)
As you all are my witnesses,
I will continue to learn and practice and grow...
someday I will show you a video of our progress.

PS...Sid and Moonbeam are very happy to be doing this together!

Sid had a great lesson, too.

And traveling is so much easier with a friend!


  1. One of my favorite horses I have worked with was a Haflinger named Bubba. I always felt that breed has the biggest personality. Of course they also tend to on the pounds rather easy. Just more to love :)

  2. He is beautiful... and I considered a haflinger too, but quarter horses have prevailed here at our farm over the years. They have similar personalities. I do have a -nothing over 15.1 hands rule. Helps with the fear Taking lessons and moving forward was the best thing you could have done, good for you. A green horse and a green rider is a bad combination unless there is solid guidance. So glad you stuck it out. Would love to see your progress.

  3. God bless you Bev... you are a dear sweet soul. I enjoy reading how you think and put your thinking into action. Many thanks for sharing with us.

  4. Congratulations to all of you..I think you've conquered the worst of it...Proud of you..Enjoy each other

  5. This is a wonderfully inspiring post. First time to your blog and I look forward to coming back.

  6. Good for you and Moonbeam. I am so glad he has a new life. I know about all the horses going through New Holland, many of them tossed away by the Amish, and it is heartbreaking. Not to say they all come through via that route, but I can only imagine Moonbeam has a waaaaaay better life with you. Haflingers are so pretty, but too small for me.
    Have you thought about driving him? It's quite fun and you have so much property there.

  7. I had no idea, just exactly, how much I needed this today... until after reading. Thanks, Bev!

  8. Conquering our fears is always so tough...thanks for sharing. I will be facing this in a small way this backpacking trip.

    However, it rang a bell for me, on something else, and I really needed the kick in the b... Thanks. I am sticking with it.

  9. Yes they are an amazing breed ! My sister has a Haflinger names Ziggy and I have worked with them in the past ! They are also great for beginer riders . The ranch I worked for in the summers as a teen had Haflingers due to their calmness and ability to be a very placid breed ! Awesome post and photos ! Have a great day !

  10. I'm so glad this has a happy ending! You two really look great and happy together.

  11. How did You Know i too am searching for a bit of courage?
    Thanks for this sweet & gentle Encouragement..
    You are an inspiration!

  12. How many times, in my day job as a therapist, have I talked about facing fear one small step at a time. Exposure therapy is where it's at! Otherwise, the issue (here - fear of riding) just gets bigger and bigger because there is no other experience to counteract it.
    Good for you, girl. Get back on that awesome horse!

  13. Aren't you happy you decided to keep him. He really does have a precious smile. Looks like you had the perfect day to ride.

  14. Bev that's wonderful that you're getting over your fear after being hurt a few times. Moonbeam is such a nice horse with a wonderful personality and I'm sure that helps with the confidence too. I haven't gotten back on Hope yet but my tailbone is way too sore to sit on her. I know it will be hard to get back on the first time but I'll get there. Thanks for sharing your riding with us...I love it. :)


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