Thursday, July 7, 2011

Sassy Chassi

Just got a call that I wasn't prepared for. Growing up, horses were my life. Long before we were thinking about boys or clothes, my neighbor Tif and I were 'training' her pony licorice. I remember being so proud riding one of her horses Sally by myself down the road - up until she spooked and raced home with me dragging behind, foot caught in stirrup and head flopping on the ground. Tif's mom, Carol, made me hurry up and get right back, knowing if she didnt before my mom (who had witnessed the whole thing and was deathly afraid of horses) got there I would probably never ride again.

While we were in high school, Carol added another horse to her barn. Although named Chassi, she was just as often called Sassy Chassi. She was young, and full of spit and vinegar. I remember sitting for hours trying to get her take a bit. I hadn't realized there was someone more stubborn than I was! She would stick her nose so high I had to stand on the trampoline just to reach her. The day she calmly opened her mouth for the bit, tears welled up in my eyes. I hadn't ever, to this day, felt more accomplished about anything.

She stayed true to her name - dumping our trainer more than once with her bucking bronco routines. Riding her became a dance - my right heel in, her left hind leg kick out, my left heel in, her head tossing around. Round and round we would dance, her ears perked and alert, betraying the "bad horse" act she was trying to put on. There is not a doubt in my mind she enjoyed those rides as much as I did.

Depending on her rider, she would adjust her attitude. If it was a child, unsure of themselves, she would plod around the ring like a trustworthy pony, taking care to not stumble or go too fast. Then an experienced rider would get on her and she would race around crow-hopping to her hearts' content.

Chassi was smarter than any horse I had ever met. Not only would she find ways to escape her own stall at night, but she would often "free" all of her friends from their stalls as well. When new horses came into the barn, she became "mom", protecting them from the bullies. She would sit for hours while I untangled her mane, just loving the attention. Year after year she would surprise us with her depth, wisdom and awesome personality.

The call I just received was that she passed away. So many memories attached to that amazing mare. On one side, I am overwhelmed with the guilt of having moved on with my life and not being around her as much as I should have been these last few years. On the other side, she was so well loved and had such a great long life, I should feel honored just to have played a small part at all.

Chassi was an amazing soul. She will be missed by many.

Thank you, Chassi, for all of your lessons and love that you shared so generously with all of us.

1 comment:

  1. :( thanks Jen, she was an amazingly smart horse, and is missed terribly....