10 whole years you have been here on this planet and in my life. 10 years of learning, fun, happiness, sadness and growth. For 10 years now you have been the most important thing to me and my best friend. You have taught me patience, perspective, and determination. You have taught me more about myself than anyone or anything. I love that the more I learn about you, the more I learn about myself. Because we are one. Figuring out how your mind works is a never ending journey and I love it. I love discovering new things about you and new things about me together. Like how I used to think you were the most bomb-proof horse but now that I have actually challenged you by introducing you to new experiences, I have learned how truly sensitive you are. You are hyper aware of your surroundings when you are in an unknown place. You are so in tune to me and my body you know exactly what I need, or if you don’t, you try your hardest to figure it out. If I am asking something knew of you, and you don’t get it right away, you get frustrated because you want so badly to please and do things right. You always know when you are in trouble and how to make it up to me LOL. (Which means you’re never in trouble for long.) Your trust in me brings me to my knees. You would do anything I asked of you if I am right there alongside you to guide you through it. You’ll follow me into a trailer even though I know you don’t like them and will try to run right back out (we are working on that, we’ll get there bud.) But you’ll follow me in every time. You’ll go forward on a trail even though you are unsure of what lies ahead because I told you to and assured you that you’re going to be ok. When I first brought you out to Colorado, you were in an entirely new world and a very stressful situation. You were scared. I was terrified. But every time I went out to see you, we would just sit together and we would both calm down immensely. I remember how palpable both of our tension was and just being with each other and comforting each other, the tension would ease. That was honestly the most stressful week of my life but you made it better. And you have always made every situation better. I would be over-thinking everything, thinking “what if I made a mistake?”, I had an anxiety attack almost every day that first week. But then I would go see you and I would get the overwhelming feeling that no, this was right. This is exactly where we are meant to be. Thank you for the last 10 years D. And I can’t wait for the next 10. And the next.
Year One – You came to All About Equine in June of 2009. You were about one month old. I started volunteering in August of 2009. Because my friends and I were only 12 and not allowed to work with or around the adult horses, we got assigned the babies. I got stuck with you. You were a little shit-head. Oh-so-cute but your typical little boy who only wanted to play, rebel and cause a ruckus. You were so stubborn. A quality you still have (: Good thing I was and still am just as stubborn! We worked on basic handling skills, getting used to a kind human touch, a rope and halter. Every day I grew more and more attached (even though we were strongly warned not to.) I begged my parents to adopt you. They said no.
Year Two – Real training stuff begins. By this point you have grown quite a bit. You are still a wily, trouble-making colt. But, you knew how to lead and somewhat listen to me. Except the problem was you would only listen to me… I remember having to ask my friends if they would try picking up your feet, or try to lunge you, or get you to trot on the lead. You wouldn’t. You were still so stubborn. At this point I taught you how to lunge in the round pen, how to tie, and put tack on you for the first time. And then someone wanted to adopt you. I begged and cried to my parents. And then I came to the conclusion that I couldn’t give you what you deserved at that point. So I let you go. I wish I had never let you go.
Year Three – You were gone.
Year Four – My junior year in highschool. Spring semester. I see my friend who also volunteered at AAE. I hadn’t been volunteering as much as I used to. She says “Hey! Have you heard the news?” I say, “What news?” and then she says “Liv, he’s back. Dayton is back.” I almost started crying the school hallway. I immediately texted Wendy and asked if it was true. It was, he was back. My best friend was back in my life. I immediately went out to see you. You had gotten so big! And so handsome. You were the most handsome horse I had ever seen, and still growing! That summer I was back at AAE as much as I could. I was so happy to have you back.
Year Five – My senior year in high school. That fall my parents separated. The first place I wanted to run to was you. But I hadn’t been out much and I didn’t think I could explain to anyone else, all the people that would have been there, what I was going through. School was busy. I was applying to colleges. Then I got a boyfriend… my first. I never even told him about you. You were something I wanted to keep just to myself. You were mine and I didn’t want to share that. But I was still distracted and busy. I should have spent more time with you.
Year Six – I started college at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO in August 2015. The first semester was good. But I started to miss you terribly. You were my laptop wallpaper and my phone background. I would find myself looking at all our old pictures together. I started going through some hard stuff. Winter break sucked. Majorly sucked. Sucked the life out of me. I returned to spring semester feeling dead. Depressed, unmotivated, tired all the god damn time. Nothing brought me happiness. Except you. I remember thinking about constantly. You were the one thing that I could focus on. That made me feel good. I realized then how badly I needed you. I realized how much you truly mean to me. I apologized to Wendy for not being out at AAE as often as I should have the past two years and begged to come back that summer I was home. I spent almost every day there. I remember the first day I came back and went to see you, we went out to the pasture, Wendy and I, and I walked up to you and gave you a hug and you hugged me back. Then I checked you out, looked you all over and picked up your feet to look at your hooves. Wendy says “Wow, I’m surprised he did that for you, he rarely lets people pick up his feet so easily. But then again, it’s you, and he did always listen to you.” Brought tears to my eyes. You remembered me. You still loved me. Wendy told me you were mine and that you are just waiting for me to finish school so we could be together. That was my plan, I would graduate and then you would become mine officially. You coming back in to my life when you were four and how much I struggled without you made me realize how much we are meant to be. We worked together a lot that summer. You helped me with Banjo. We loved Banjo <3 Then summer was over and I had to go back to school. I came home for every break that year. I told my parents the only reason I came home was to see you. It was true, I don’t come home nearly as often now that you are here (;
Year Seven – My sophomore year at CSU. Wendy and Dick and Sue and others had started teasing me with ideas of bringing you out to Colorado. I didn’t it was logical or possible. But it was constantly in the back of my mind. That “what if…” So I started looking around casually perusing barns, boarding facilities and horse properties. I made a facebook post, a craigslist post, just looking out of curiosity. I got a job. I started really thinking about it and planning it out. I realized I could actually potentially make it work. I had found a place I thought was perfect. I had a budget. I had a plan. Wendy approved it. My mom approved, my grandparents approved. I was gonna do it.
Year Eight – I had a plan. It was going to work. I was going to make it happen. The hardest part was finding someone I trusted to haul you half way across the country. I finally found someone who had the licenses, the credentials, the really nice rig. We set a date. The first day of classes August 21st, 2017. I couldn’t believe I was actually going to have you here with me. It all felt like a dream. Wendy and my mom wouldn’t send me pictures when you got picked up and left. It drove me crazy. I needed to know you were ok and that you loaded well and were on my way to me. I was working that first day of travel. I had told the lady hauling you that I needed an update at least every two hours and every time she pulled over to check on you and when you finally stopped for the night. I was a nervous wreck. And then I had classes in the morning and I got the text that you were an hour out. I rushed to our new barn and anxiously awaited your arrival. I couldn’t believe you were finally here. In the end that first place didn’t end up working out (check our first CO update blog for the story on that). So we ended up at a different barn that I had a couple friends at. It was a much better situation for us. We were happy. We were together.
Year Nine – We moved barns again. This new place was much closer, only 5 minutes from my apartment and directly to and from my way to work so I could stop in whenever I wanted to. It’s been amazing. We absolutely love it here. He has come so far in his training, we are now cantering and working on framework and bending to build up muscle. We play, we go for walks, we have photoshoots. He met the boyfriend. The first boyfriend to meet him. I was always curious how that would go. Turns out I had nothing to worry about. The boyfriend passed with flying colors and as long as he brings Dayton a peppermint each time he comes out with me, everything’s all good (; You’ve always been the jealous type. You never like it when I give more attention to other horses. You come up, ears pinned and if they don’t get the message they get a bite on the ass to get away from me and you step right into my space and put your head in my lap. I get it bud, only you. It’s only ever been you. Makes me laugh every time. Don’t worry, he hasn’t bit the boyfriend. Yet. We are happy.
Year Ten – Who knows… stay tuned <3