My first horse was a half Arab named Fellah. I remember when we went to look at him the first time. The owner, a huge man with an enormous belly, let out an ear piercing whistle. I heard the sound of hooves thundering across the earth, and suddenly I saw a gorgeous grey Arabian crest the hill, his mane flowing and his tail streaming behind him like a flag. He galloped toward me with graceful, long strides that flowed like water. Stopping mere inches in front of me as he looked at me through dark, soft eyes. Haha. What did you expect an eleven year old, horse crazy kid, to see when looking at the first horse that was to be her very own!!
The reality was… At 16 years old, Fellah already had a pronounced sway back, he was rather plain looking, and he was eerily intelligent. No latches, snaps, or hooks could keep him contained. Our first year with him was spent chasing him for miles and miles and miles. And he had some nasty tricks up his sleeve when he didn’t agree with us. He never bit, reared, or bucked… But boy did he know some tricks!
The first few years with Fellah were tough. I had had riding lessons before getting him, but I was still very much a noob. One day I went for a ride and all I remember is waking up in the house with my mom holding me and not remembering anything at all. At all…Like that I had a brother, a dad, etc. I guess it was a pretty nasty fall.
After that, I was terrified of the horse. I hated him, and refused to ride. My parents hired my cousin to come give me lessons on Fellah at the house. I resented my cousin for agreeing, I resented being forced to ride the horse that hurt me. But over time, and with Lisa slapping me upside the head numerous times, I learned how to control Fellah and started feeling happy about horses again.
Fast forward a few years….
We were inseparable! As a trail horse he was unflappable. He never balked, shied, or bolted at anything. And he was FAST! By this time, he was nearing 20 and had the energy of a 4 year old.
I had stopped using a saddle with him a few years after we got him. Partly because no saddle ever fit his sway, but mostly because he was so comfortable without one that it was just easier to ride without it. I remember the field behind Gibsons house, with the path through the middle the boys used to ride their 3 wheelers on. That was “our path”. As soon as we entered, I’d shorten up the reins and lean forward and Fellah would take off like a shot. He ran so fast that the wind stung my eyes. His mane lashing my face and hands. And we’d streak across that long field like a blur, just the two of us.
God I miss that horse.