by Lyn StClair
At my solo gallery show opening in 2009 one of the women attending mentioned she was selling a horse. Though I was in no way looking for a horse, I could not resist the opportunity to go with my wonderful horsey neighbor Donald, his partner Mick and their friend Gregg to look at "Billy Jean" as a possible horse for Gregg.
Billy Jean was Percheron/Thoroughbred cross owned by a young woman named Molly.
Molly rescued Billy's pregnant dam from a PMU farm in Canada and brought her to Santa Barbara where Billy was foaled. Born coal black with a star, Billie was a deep charcoal grey three year old when I met her.
Molly had begun her training beautifully, but had recently met the love of her life and was moving to Sweden...so Billy needed a new home.
She was gorgeous, but I had trouble justifying the cost of boarding the horse I already had (and they could accept no more boarders even if I could).
More importantly, though I have ridden since I was a toddler, I had never trained a horse...and Billy had a lot more to learn.
My pragmatic Scottish side kicked in. I admired her, loved on her...and then hugged her goodbye.
Her response was a crushing blow: "Molly left for Sweden yesterday...Billie was sold to a neighbor, the sprinkler guy."
The MJ song refused to leave my head though.
Billy Jean was mine.
She can be "good Karma" when she is and "bad Karma" should she ever be rotten (rolls eyes dramatically).
This funny, tough, beautiful, quirky, intelligent, goofy, spirited mare has been a priceless addition to my world. She has been a challenge at times...but she makes up for it by being an extraordinary soul who continually enriches my life.
and Have fun.
Beyond that...I am always trying to learn something new.
In my opinion (for what it's worth)...training horses means learning to find a way to bridge a gap between yourself and a soul that sees things very differently than you. The world can certainly use more of that!
They are sensitive and they react to what we bring to them...so the most important step to training is learning to leave your stress, temper, impatience and worry outside the arena (or off the trail).
When you and your horse trust one another...you can do anything.
Thank you Molly for rescuing this lovely mare and her mama from the wicked Premarin farm program and shaping her young life so thoughtfully. Thank you Hank for answering that email and being willing to let her go, albeit reluctantly. Thank you Dody for telling me "you can!", for offering advice and for giving me a place to put Karma for the first few months. Thank you Donald for getting me back into jumping...and Donald, Mick and Gregg for letting me come along to see her that first time.
Last but not least...
thank you Karma for just being you.