The Best of Friends

Two of my very favorites! 

Over the weekend I was able to visit with one of my very best friends. Jen and I met during freshman orientation at college, and have been partners in crime ever since!

Jen also comes as a package deal with her horse, Picante. Picante is an Arabian gelding that Jen has owned since he was only 3 years old, and this year he turned 19. Their relationship is truly special, and I've never in my life seen a horse and rider that love each other as much as Jen and Picante do. It's so heartwarming to see their devotion to each other!

Picante is also special in other ways. Namely, the fact that he was an utter lunatic up until just a few years ago. It took Jen about five years to be able to ride him when she first bought him. He was borderline dangerous - due mostly to the fact that he is one of the most mentally and emotionally sensitive horses that has ever existed. Picante is not a horse that you can fight with, or even speak strongly to - he will mentally shut down and literally run away from the situation. His answer to everything was to run away. FAST.

When we were in college together, Picante was just learning some basic dressage, and his propensity was still to bolt any time he was scared, confused, worried, unbalanced, or the work got too hard. I rode him a lot when Jen moved him up to school, and while he was a far cry from dangerous, Picante was still a tricky ride and his quick moves and narrow frame made him very easy to fall off of!

"I iz good boy now!"
Fast forward to this past weekend, and Picante is a different horse. "Impressed" doesn't even begin to describe the feelings I had watching him go and getting to take him for a spin myself!

I had the special treat of being able to watch Jen give a lesson to one of her students - a 9 year old girl - on Picante. Over the years, this horse has completely transformed. It was incredible to witness the care he took with his young rider, and I was slack-jawed watching him jog around the indoor like a trusty school horse with this tiny child on his back.

After the lesson, the real fun began when I got to sit on him myself!

Picante has gotten to be so. much. FUN! Aside from being a little fussy in the contact to start, he was an absolute blast to ride! He's compact and powerful in his hind end, while still being incredibly flexible. We were floating around the ring switching in and out of haunches-in and shoulder-in, leg yielding like a ballerina, and I even rode a few strides of canter half-pass on him! The sheer rideability of this horse blew me away, and the feeling of collection that he gave me when I asked was absolutely amazing.

While I was cruising around, giggling like a schoolgirl and having a grand time playing with all of Picante's new buttons, Jen tacked up another client horse and we headed out for a hack around the property.

And I trail rode her horse, on the buckle, and didn't die.

In our college days, that would NEVER have been possible!

I am just beyond amazed with the incredible work that Jen has put into her horse - especially her endless patience with him. It's taken years, but she never gave up on him, and Picante has since transformed from a frightened, reactive, unrideable horse to a sweet child's schoolmaster and dressage superstar. I'm beyond proud of both of them, and feeling so blessed to have been able to spend time with these two!


  1. What a great story! :-) Happy for them both.

  2. aw that's super sweet - he looks like such a doll too! nice job on Jen for getting him to such a good place

  3. That is one heck of a transformation. Glad to read about owners like Jen :)


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