When I set out to look for my first horse, I looked for an aged dark bay gelding with no white on the feet, good conformation and a stable temperament. The breed was of no particular moment.
I looked in a lot of places. One February day, I walked into a horse's box, said "Hello" and put my hand on Tschuess's rump.
Bonding took place in a nanosecond! She treated me like an old friend from the very start.
Purebred Trakehner Tschuess was fourteen, a former broodmare with a copper-red summer coat, four socks and a blaze. She'd injured her right eye and had started a cataract. Herd boss to seven other mares, she was VERY alpha. Fundamentally bold and bright, she had an overlaying spookiness caused by losing eyesight. My experience riding horses with vision issues meant I could cope with her antics.
I started riding her that April. We had the usual disagreements about direction and speed, especially out on the trail. One day, I sat down the wrong way in the saddle to the point of ouchiness. I thought I'd have an argument over speed on the way back to her stable; instead, she walked as though on eggshells. She took really good care of me! A horse in a trillion!
I was able to buy her. She was the center of my life for the next twenty-two years.
Tschuess had a well-developed sense of humor, particularly under saddle. Her favorite "joke" was to wait until my attention wandered, jump up and take off at a gallop. She'd stop when I laughed! The first time she did this, we were pushing through two pines overgrowing the trail. I was hunched up with my head between my shoulders, my eyes mostly closed and my attention on not getting spiked by the trees.
In her thirty-second year, she started have trouble getting up. Four years later, her hind legs failed her completely. I had to have my beloved friend put to sleep.
She is buried in a corner of her paddock. Two years later, the ground is settling while grass has hidden the earth's scar, It's a peaceful corner, a place to meditate and listen to the birds.
She taught me so much, particularly about friendship. She is with me still.
I'll write more about Tschuess and about some of the many other horses I've known. Expect a "vignette" a month. I'd write more were it not for the fact that as author of a self-published book, there are a great many things my book hobby has to have done, all of them time-consuming.