Building a bond with a horse is a way total experience than with a dog. It's intense, and these animals when taken care of properly, and their emotional needs are met, as well as physical, they are an awesome experience. Breathtaking, proud, smart, and their agility, heart, and stamina are truly astounding. But before I start my usual weird, and hysterical story, let me tell you about the great ones.
I had the privilege of riding a horse called "Mr. Chips", a cutting horse off the range in Colorado. What an experience that was. This animals was so smart, so agile, and absolutely was controlled only by leg pressure, the bit, and reins are not used. These horses are referred to as "Soft Mouths". A bit is not used, a bridle called a "Hack-amore" or "Bosal" is used. Also had my first experience using spurs, and truly understand just what the heck they are for. Totally not cruel, and when used properly with the slightest of touches, that horse would get down, and get to business. The smartest animal I ever encountered.
I also had the pleasure of riding a retired race horse from Argentina. His name was "Surfside II", well if you want to feel pure muscle bubbling, adrenaline pumping, and a real "gulp" experience, just ride one of those. He was the Stallion where I worked, and kept my own horses. When I took him out on the trails, you had better be on your game, or you will be eating dust in two seconds.
I had an Appaloosa named "Doc", our daughter had a pony named "Lil Doc", and I leased a Cowboy Polo horse named "Bandit"...lol lol :) I was a western gamer, I did barrel runs, pole bending, and other games. Pleasure riding was a daily thing, it was my job. I took people out on rides and tours. How they were not killed is beyond me..lol lol..."If they only knew, they would of been rightly terrorized"! We even did Moonlight trail rides when there was a full moon. I saw many a gringo "Eat Dust"! lol lol :)
The real Cowboys were interesting, devilish, laid back,tough guys. I always admired their fearless, common sensed, way of thinking. Their horses were their partners in life, and each relied on their horses to pull them through. It's a bond that is unexplainable.
We used to play a game called "Cowboy Polo" for fun, and relaxation with our steeds. You had to choose a horse with the same mindset, tough, competitive, reliable, and fearless. My own horse hated the game, and wanted no part of the bashing, shoving, stepping on, etc...Bandit loved the game, and would sometimes kick the ball into the goal himself. He would prance around, and laugh at the other horses, and give a little victory kick like he was saying, "Eat that Losers"....lol lol :)
Once a horse barreled into Bandits backside full force and knocked him out cold. He fell to the ground right on top of me. Poor guy, they pulled me out from under him, and thank God he came to and was fine. He went down like a dish rag instantly. It was so fast.
We used to play in the Indoor Arena, and we played the game in Winter, down time at the ranch. When the game started and the sweat started the whole building became warm as toast, and steamy.
They cowboys played really down and dirty. They would come up along side you and hit you, pinch you, and would take my riding crop and hit me with it. Men are brutal when it comes to sports. One time we had a visiting player, I only knew him by the name Jerry. Anyway, out of the corner of my eye I saw him reach for my crop, "I screamed at him like a dirty mouthed sailor" and called him several names. I thought he was a typical cowboy that was playing down and dirty. Anyway, the whole building became silent. You could hear a pin drop. I heard "Hey don't be calling our pastor names like that. We all go to his church. OOPS! I had no idea, he smiled sweetly at me and said, "I am sorry dear, I saw your crop slipping and merely wanted to put it back for you"! I was so embarrassed I wanted to cry...lol lol :) Everybody was laughing!
We had a lot of spectators that loved the game. Once two Black Urbanites came, dressed up really great from Chicago. They asked me where the washrooms were, I said "They are out back behind the barn". They came back and said to me, "Oh you are a smart ass, quit fooling us, there are only two refrigerators back there". I said, "Those are porta-potties, not refrigerators"! lol lol They couldn't believe it.
Another time this little old lady brought her two little Shitzus with her. She was standing at the end of the arena, when our horses came charging down the arena her little cute dogs became so frightened they wrapped the leashes around her legs and dragged her down. lol lol Her dogs were screaming in terror. The cowboys picked her up, brushed her off, and took her upstairs to the viewing area. Poor thing, "She learned that night what eating dirt was"! lol lol :) I have a ton of horse stories, all funny. It was so fun to be a part of this, George, Carrie, and I loved it. Our Mother's would never come back to the games, they said it terrified them so much they couldn't stand it. lol :)