Four years ago, my parents adopted Charlie Brown, a horse from the Hooved Animal Rescue. He was one of 45 horses, abandoned, and, thankfully, rescued. Charlie was my dream come true. I had been riding dressage for three years. I didn’t really know Charlie until after he was broke to ride, when I rode him in one of my lessons. In that lesson, I found the best horse (in my opinion) in the world. From March to July, we trained Charlie at intro level. Charlie and I went to the Midsummer Dressage show, mostly for fun, not caring about scores and being happy if I did really well. Over fall, winter and spring, we took a slightly larger step in dressage, trying to do a bit more. The next summer, we felt fairly confident at intro, and had taken a shaky step towards training level.
In late June 2005, we were planning on taking Charlie to the Dressage Lite in Mason City Iowa. Well, what do you know; he would not take a step into the big scary trailer. That summer, we trained him to associate the trailer with food. Soon, he was walking in and out without a problem. We took him to the Midsummer show in July, taking on the trailer. That Saturday was one of the most exciting moments of my life. Charlie and I had received a 71% and a first place in intro. We had officially graduated. That Sunday, we took on training level. It had rained the night before. Charlie refused to go through any puddles.
That winter, we succeeded in becoming round. At last! We were so excited to go do the team challenge in Mason City. Then, one day, I came home from spring break. We got a call from the barn. Charlie had gotten a gash on his elbow area. I couldn’t ride for a month and a half. I was crushed. We had worked so hard. The day before we left, we gave it one more try, and succeeded. I could take him to the show. We went, not expecting the greatest scores after not being able to ride for a month and a half. Charlie gave it his all. He was fantastic in my mind, but not the judges. I didn’t care. I was just happy to ride my horse.
Last winter, once more, we worked and worked and worked. We had improved so much. In the spring, we did some jumping for fun. A horrifying experience (for Charlie anyway) but, finally making it over. We took him to Mason City again this summer, doing great. The next weekend, waking up at 4:30 in the morning, we took Charlie and two other horses to Parkside Dressage. It was the craziest weekend of my life but it was so much fun. On Saturday, we arrived at 6 AM. In our first class, my sister, Kate, and her friend Rachel and I place first second third. On Sunday, I could not believe it. Rachel and I were in the same class, Kate in another. Before my ride, I realized that Charlie and I had some tough competition. Rachel, who had rode earlier than me, had gotten a 70%. Charlie and I had the best ride of our lives, coming up 1% below Rachel. When I walked out of the ring, Charlie and I realized we had some fans. No one could believe that this wonderful, great- gaited horse was a rescue pony.
Later that day, in our last ride, we confronted and conquered our fear of puddles. What a ride. It was pouring rain. By the end we were soaked through.
Charlie is the most amazing horse I’ve ever met. We have bonded so much throughout the years. When he sees me coming to his stall, he nickers. When I fall, he stops dead still and looks at me like he’s asking “what on earth am I doing down there?” The only people I can’t thank enough for Charlie Brown is the organization that rescued him.