A recent thread on the Chronicle of the Horse forums caught my eye: Stop it with the "heart horse" thing. No, really. Stop it.
I don't recall ever using the term "heart horse" in print, but when I think about the way I've typically seen it used on the COTH forums - yes, Tristan is my heart horse. I have ridden and loved many horses in my life. I have fallen in love with a few.
No horse has ever meant to me what Tristan means to me. Whenever I see him, without fail, I get an almost physical pang in my chest, like my heart is too big for its space. Everything about my life is better when he's nearby. I tried to explain it to someone once by saying it's like my heart somehow took up residence outside my body, and inside his.
I realize that sounds corny. I'm not trying to say that I'll never love another horse. I guess for me, it just means that my relationship with him is special. It's different, deeper than any other relationship I've had with a horse, even ones I've ridden quite a lot and loved dearly. We've been through so much together. He has saved my sanity more than once. (In between the times when he's making me lose it...)
What about you? Have you ever used the term "heart horse"? Is your current horse a heart horse? Have you ever had one before?