Saturday, September 20, 2014

Is your horse a "heart horse"? Have you had a heart horse?

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?


  1. I use the term all the time. I definitely have my two heart horses - my big bay Quarter and my tiny little mini rescue. IMO, if you don't like the term, just don't use it. I think most people who hate it so much don't really understand the bond. I thought it was silly until I got my Quarter and then I totally understood.

  2. I've loved many horses, but only a handful have been "heart horses." Tamarindo, the big bay OTTB stallion that thought he belonged to me. My heart was his and his was mine. Lucero, the Paso Fino that I raised and grew up with. He was even more than that...he was an extension of me. A part of me died the day he passed away. Cloud: I was the first person who understood him and the first that he chose to trust. And now Lily. When I look at her, I feel what you feel with Tristan. That's exactly it. The struggles with her made our relationship all that more significant now, as I'm sure that's what has made your relationship with Tris so much more meaningful: what you went through with him to train him, the fact that you were one of the first people he trusted.

    I adore adore my bay mare. My sun rises and sets behind her.

  3. Yes, I did have a heart horse. She meant more to me than almost every human being that I've ever met (excluding only my husband). When she died, I went to bed for several days and did nothing but sob in total misery. If that's what it feels like to lose a human that you love, I hope it never happens to me.

    The two boys that I have now, I love dearly, but I am not sure if they're heart horses. Speedy G and I have almost a "frenemies" relationship. He loves me, of that I am sure, but he also feels so comfortable in our relationship that he takes me for granted (he can be a complete ass!). My other boy, Sydney, he runs silent and deep. When I groom him especially, there is definitely a deep connection between us, but nothing like what I had with Montoya.

    In all, I've had at least eight horses of my own (two until their deaths). I loved all of them, but there was something different about the relationship that I had with Montoya. She was truly my heart's passion and one true love. Will I have others? I don't know if we get more than one. I sure hope so!

  4. what a lovely post. you and tristan are very lucky to have each other.
    i have had a heart horse. like bakersfield dressage, losing him knocked me down like nothing has, before or since. i think auto might be a heart horse, but in a much different way than hit the deck.

  5. great post - tristan seems like a very special guy. i never thought too much about the 'heart horse' thing until recently. i have known SO MANY different horses (esp having never owned my own), and have loved some more than others. not sure how isabel fits in with it all - i'm pretty crazy about her, but i routinely quiz myself - 'if she suddenly came up for sale, would i buy her, or no?' it's a hard question to answer.


Thanks for commenting! It's great to hear from you.