Bestseller, we call him Ruudi, is my 18 years old mixed breed gelding. I’m writing about him is to make people think about the way they treat their horses.
Me and Ruudi have been together since 2012 March. When he arrived he was really aggressive against every person who came within 5 metres of him – he would attack them. Everyone was afraid of him, but not me. I knew that he was something special from the very first moment I laid eyes on him and fell in love. I actually got him in July 2012 when I decided to go for a ride with him – before that he was “ridden” by a man who would kick him with spurs all the time and wasn’t able to handle him at all.
As I said before, I fell in love with him at first sight so after our first ride I knew that I had to start riding with this little horse. At first he didn’t do anything I wanted him to – he bucked, he didn’t slow down and was really hard to ride. But I kept trying. We started jumping at the beginning of 2013 and he improved a lot. Unfortunately the same man who rode with him before me was abusing Ruudi – beated him and so on -. I had no power to do anything about it, he was a big man and I was just a little girl. When I visited Ruudi the next day he attacked me. He even didn’t let me groom him for about 5 months. This was really hard time for me. I went to see him every day and I cried all the time because I really wanted him to trust me again, but he didn’t. Until one day he finally let me put the halter on, I was over the moon, this was the happiest moment of my life. I decided to take a walk with him and it was successful – he didn’t try to bite or attack me. I kept on trying to rebuild our friendship and soon we started riding again.
I used strict bits on him like Olympics and pelhams, thinking it would help. I scolded him for my own mistakes. I was really harsh with him until one day I finally opened my eyes and realised that I don’t really need any bits or spurs to control him. I wanted to gain his trust, to ride with him with snaffle bits, to jump without tack. And you know what? I threw away my spurs and harsh bits and I started doing groundwork with him with a neck-rope only. I started teaching him tricks, and in time he learned how to trust me. I found out all his flaws and they made him even more perfect in my eyes. Although his personality isn’t perfect and he isn’t able to jump 100cm+ courses, I loved him dearly. I realised how poorly I’d taken care of him and every time I went to visit him, I told him how sorry I am. I think that he has forgiven me all my mistakes, because he has a very big heart, much bigger than mine.
I’m sharing my story to show that one shouldn’t always blame the horse for problems. If it rears up or tries to buck you off, you are probably doing something wrong. Think about why your horse doesn’t understand you sometimes. Your horse isn’t perfect and neither are you. We all make mistakes, so forgive your horse and think about your mistakes – try to improve yourself. Gain your horse’s trust. Play together and go for forest rides and stuff. And always do your best to make your horse happy – because when your horse is happy, so are you. Respect yourself and your horse.
I had so much trouble while I was riding with Ruudi with Olympic bits. Then I started doing horsemanship, riding tackless and all our problems disappeared. He is a lot happier than before and he always does his best. He never tries to attack or bite me, he never gets mad at me. He is the best friend I’ve ever had and I’m so so thankful that he lets me ride him. Making him happy is the least I could do for being there for me whenever I need a friend.
Right now we’re riding tackless and Ruudi can do several tricks like paw, scrabble the ground, smile, kiss, hug, bow and spanish walk. His favourite one is bow. He enjoys trick trainings and he gets really excited when we go for a forest ride. I don’t know how to describe how much I love this horse!
Written by Raili Krusta.