When I met with my high school career counselor in the tenth grade, she was not at all pleased with my decisions. “You want to be a writer, and you want to ride horses?” she confirmed dubiously. When I assured her that not only were those the only two things in the world that interested me, those were the only two things in the world that I was good at, she encouraged me to consider Political Science. (When’s the last time someone was encouraged to consider Poli Sci? That’s how bad she thought my choice was.)
I’d like to think that I was right then, and that I’m right now. They’re still the only two things I’m decent at, and the only things that really interest me.
I decided to try my hand at career counseling with Final Call, as I have with all my blank slate TBs. Retired racehorses have many options for new careers. Final Call looked, felt, and acted like an eventer or a field hunter from day one. I pointed him towards field hunter because of his level-headedness and build. But offering him for sale before he had a firm grasp of any single career meant that anyone could dictate his future career.
Last week in “A Trial Ride,” I described the young teen that came out and tried Final Call. She was looking for a challenge, a step up from a school horse, who could take her that next step and from a rider to a rider, if you know what I mean.
What I didn’t describe was the second trial ride that took place a few days later. Simply put, I’m superstitious, and I didn’t want to jinx anything.
Final Call gave the first rider a little nonsense. More, in fact, than he’d ever given me. It made me nervous, though I knew she’d grow as a rider and learn to deal with it. Her style just wasn’t at all what he’d ever experienced. And I was prepared to accept his going to a hunter/jumper barn, but I wasn’t excited about it. He loves galloping out in the woods and trails, and while there was a better than decent chance that he’d teach her how fabulous it was to get out of the ring, and into the country (that old USCTA advertisement always stuck in my head) I was afraid he’d be bored at horse shows.
But he gave the second rider no nonsense. He put his head down and jogged like a pony for her. He arched his neck and softened his jaw. He cantered like a rocking horse. She was loose and gentle with her fingers, and moved with his body. He loved it.
Best yet, when I asked what she wanted to do with him, her words were music to my ears. “Eventually, foxhunt.”
(This was when the superstition set in, and I didn’t write anything about it on the blog.)
This was a match I wanted to work out.