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Stubborn Love - Story of a Special Caspian Pony
 By TheLloyd   •   25th Sep 2010   •   3,472 views   •   1 comments
I come again, very soon, with another story. Well, I wouldn't call my last article, nor this one, a story in that sense. I'm simply re-telling what I've experienced and been through.

I might have mentioned this before, but my mother has a serious case of the horse-bug. This led to me, tiny little me, growing up with horses. When I was born there was the two grumpy, stubborn shetland ponies. Then there were two more Shetland ponies, though, not quite as stubborn these two. Which led to two tiny, tiny foals in our little herd of ponies. And then there was the partly nuts but lovable ex-trotter mare that owns my mother's heart, whom also later had her little foal.

Three Caspians


But then the true wonder happened. One of mother's friends asked us to take care of three Caspians; Faramir, Shanaz and Napoleon, for reasons I can't really remember. Napoleon - later turning out to be a nasty little bugger - was the one I first got attached to, being the small, innocent youngster of them.

When he started getting a bit cocky, partly annoying stallion, some sort of love/hate thing developed. I still love him, though, but we never truly clicked. So I rolled my eyes and turned to the one of them that had stood in the background and watched me through it all, old Shanaz. Let me tell you a few things about Shanaz.

Horse Stubborn Love

The Story of Shanaz


Shanaz was born in France many, many years before me. He was raised completely by man for one reason or another, which still reflects in the horse he is today. Pictures of him being fed with a bottle in someone's kitchen makes me laugh even now, since he is the only of our horses rude enough to literally waltz into the house when seeing the door is open. He was later on brought here and after a few more pit-stops around the country he landed with me, over 20 years old and with a personality the size of a house.

We were both stubborn, a fact that showed on one of our first rides. It was winter, I was a bit inexperienced and was riding with mother by my side. And Shanaz figured that he'd had enough of this stupid waltzing through snow that reached far up his legs, he simply took matters into his own hooves.

So, taking advantage of me doing a few, uncertain steps in trot, he made one of the swiftest turns I've ever seen and galloped towards home. Unfortunately, while leaving the field and heading onto the actual road home, he found a hole out of nowhere. With pure luck on our side, Shanaz didn't end up breaking a bone, however, he did manage to get me off his back.

Pausing briefly he pulled his leg out of the hole, nudged me with his muzzle as if checking if I was alright and promptly looked at me as if he was laughing. When he noticed I moved, he most likely figured I was alright and proceeded to gallop the rest of the way home. I - angry and annoyed - jumped to my feet as mother ran over and asked if I was still alive. I wouldn't have any of that, so I turned to her and sighed.

"This wasn't how I imagined my first gallop, but if that's how he wants it..."

Apparently, I ran all the way home, jumped onto his back as soon as I found him and rode straight down to the field again. A few pouts and frowns later, we went back, together this time.

Horse Stubborn Love
Me, my stepfather and Shanaz quite a while ago, which was made into a christmas-card. Shanaz, of course, demanded a treat after having worn that dreadful hat. Then he proceeded to eat the hat, for some reason.

I didn't ride too much, seeing as Shanaz is a very difficult horse to ride and as I felt a bit helpless being so incredibly inexperienced, I didn't dare. But I did spend a lot of time with him, specially after he became rightfully and legally mine when I was twelve.

In the summers he'd walk around loose and often lie down on the grass in front of our house, soaking up sun. I'd come out, grin and lie down with him, nestled between his legs with his head resting on my back as we just existed for a few hours. Sometimes he'd come up on our veranda, stick his head in the door and neigh loudly if we'd left the door open. I'd sprint there and try to get him out of the hallway and he'd go out, but it all had a price. If I didn't have anything for him when he got off the veranda, he'd get incredibly offended. As in 'hey-let's-take-a-dump-on-the-veranda'-offended. See the pictures at the end of this article of Shanaz having discovered an open door, waltzed into our livingroom and demanded attention.

Between cleaning horse-dung off the veranda and keeping all kinds of horses outside, I did manage a few rides.

Shanaz Loved to Gallop


Since my dear loved to gallop despite his years, I often let him. I loved the speed as well, but he mostly decided when to stop. Or when he would throw me off. Being a grumpy old man, Shanaz would often quite literally throw himself to the side when there was something he didn't agree with. Preferably in gallop. I think it was some sort protest on his side.

Today, I thank him for those insane, random jumps to the side when we were galloping along. I also happen to know that the other horses don't, since I've become quite glued to the saddle after learning to always expect the unexpected and be stuck no matter how nice and easy things seem to be.

Trouble Came Our Way


But typically enough, rounds of trouble came our way. At some point, the other horses froze him out, for one reason or another. He didn't get as much food as he needed and taking complete care of him as he lost weight became a bit too much for my clueless self. Putting away the intense feeling of heartbreak and failure to take care of him, I temporarily placed him at my riding-school, where I rode him once a week so that he could recover better.

Stubborn HorsesI though it would change him, that someone else would fall in love with him and steal him from me, no matter how odd it sounds. In my mind, he was my love and I wasn't willing to share. So when we dropped him off, everything around me fell apart. Yet I knew I was doing the right thing for him.

Time passed and Shanaz remained mine in all ways. Whenever I'd walk into the stable, everyone noticed how he changed. There was just something between us, something that just was. The worries of him becoming that attached to someone else left quickly as he time after time kept greeting me with those heartwarming neighs. Of course, we got our fair share of fun there as well. A few more falls, our first jumps and the sad moment when I realized I'd grown so much my beloved was too short for me. Whenever we jumped, my legs would tear down whatever we was jumping.

We finished our serious riding-days by having our own, specially made class at the riding-schools Showjumping 'competition' (was for us fools that'd been on camp there and was nothing but for fun, though). We cleared 50 & 60cm obstacles without any trouble, which was the highest we'd ever jumped. I'm impressed, since Shanaz is barely 113cm - 11.1 hands, I believe - and those obstacles were almost half his height.

As we shared a bucket of water after the competition - me shoving my head into the bucket and drinking as he stuck his head into it beside me, halfheartedly trying to get me away from his bucket - I knew he was forever my love. Even now as he's gotten his retirement with an old lady in Sweden, getting constantly spoiled, he's still the same stubborn old man, but when I come to visit he still lights up and neighs. And throws me off when we go riding, of course. First thing he does, too, so we can hurry it up and get back inside. But as I'm clinging to him, nestled up between his legs as he lies there, his head on my back as he just listens to me sobbing like a fool I still know that it's perfect. He doesn't mind that I'm wrapped around his neck, crying because of everything and nothing.

Stubborn Love


I also realize now, when writing this, that the love I have for him is also darn stubborn. He was the one that gave me a dream, a heap of experience and a bunch of important knowledge and he'll help me carry it all the way. Such a stubborn horse won't ever let himself be forgotten, that much I know. And now matter how long and impossibly odd this whole thing is, it maps out the six years of my life that I'll forever keep with me. Sure, there's another ton of things I'd like to tell and like to share, but Shanaz is such a long, complex story, I could go on forever.

Just like he'll be forever my love.

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