Many know I have a four legged friend that I adoringly call Nikko. He’s a dog stuck in a horses body and we’ve been pals for a while now. This month he turned the ripe age of 11 and I’ll be turning 25. As my birthday approaches, I begin to reflect on the obvious…the last 25 years…or roughly 20 because who really remembers much before 5 anyway. Sure my parents got me through the first 14 years and have had much of an influence on the rest but good ol’ Nikko has been with me for 11. There will come a time where we’ve been together longer than we’ve been apart. Most can’t say that about a pet. As I reflect on time, I can’t help but reflect on him.
I’ve read stories about why parents made the choice to get their child a horse, how it helped shape their character and refined them into incredible adults. These stories are no joke. I can’t honestly tell you it’s specific to only horses but I’m a little biased on this so, yeah, it has everything to do with A HORSE. I’ll remind you at the end and I’ll tell you now…if you’re reading this and your child has asked you for a horse. You get em’ a darn horse!
I could go on about all the countless, hilarious predicaments Nikko has gotten himself into over the years. I could ramble about the infinite amount of times he’s misbehaved. I could talk about all the times I’ve fallen off, gotten a black eye or had my foot stepped on. I might entertain you with his quirks, canine like behaviors and his love of anything edible. I could woe you with all the times he’s fixed me when I was broken, lonely or sad. I could sit here and tear up like a fool and tell you a marvelous story about a girl and her horse, but I won’t. I’ll keep it very general so all you parents out there on the fence about acquiring a horse know just how important it is you get em’ that darn horse.
Nikko taught me about responsibility. As a condition of having a horse it wasn’t going to be a free ride. I was to do the chores, I was to spend time with him, teach him, love him and care for him in every way. I wasn’t given a horse free of responsibility. From the time I was proud enough to call him mine it has forever been up to me. At the point in which I might no longer want to do all of the above, he would be gone. Clean cut.
Nikko taught me about hard work. Everything about a horse is hard work….especially hay. Good lord, the hay. Ugh! From having to work to pay for it, to working to put it up. You will most likely touch the same hay 3-4 times, only for it to eventually be manure. And all the times my dad must have grinned ear to ear watching me struggle to haul water buckets I wasn’t strong enough to carry when the stock tank froze. You work hard for what you want, simple as that.
Nikko taught me patience. If you’re lucky enough to have a baby horse, both horse and human learn patience together. The halter training, the leading, the manners, and the riding. Repetition is the game and you my friend are player one and player two. You won’t always win but the sport is worth it.
Nikko taught me compassion. You learn to be selfless, caring and kind. Since horses can’t communicate verbally you never get a simple thank you. Yet, you will still care for them and do it without question.
Nikko taught me about trust. He taught me trust because you need it if you plan on jumping on the back of a 1,200 pound animal with a mind of its own. He also made me aware that even if you trust something, it can still do you wrong, it can still hurt you, make you angry and frustrate you.
Nikko taught me forgiveness. I won’t forget every bump and bruise along the way but I will always forgive. Animals and humans alike, we all make mistakes. Forgiveness repairs and it is absolutely vital if you intend on interacting with others.
Nikko taught me to appreciate the small things. There isn’t one horse person I know that doesn’t wish they could make a horse air freshener. Just the smell is something to appreciate. Wide open spaces, nature, the breeze, the sun and everything else you fall in love with from the back of a horse. You learn to have fun without a single word being said and there aren’t many things that will teach you that today, if any.
These are just a few I chose to share. Horse person or not it’s hard to ignore the impact these animals have on a person. I only hope to one day get the timeless Christmas wish list from my child that sports #1 as: A horse.
If your kid wants a horse, get em’ a darn horse.