Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Anatomy of a Horse Crush

Country Tough posing for the camera with groom Lionel Molina in the Santa Anita paddock.

Here's my current horse crush... a lovely four-year-old chestnut gelding named Country Tough. I watched Country Tough school in the Santa Anita paddock yesterday morning, then again today during the races. He's in Santa Anita's 6th race tomorrow for owner Dream Walkin' Farm and trainer Howard Zucker.

I've been following Country Tough since he first arrived in California during last summer's Del Mar meet. The very first time I met him, I felt a kind of magical connection to this boy. I looked into his warm eyes and really felt that he was studying me... and maybe taking a liking to me. One thing has always been apparent -- he loves to ham it up, stopping to pose when he sees my camera.

I've been wondering what it is that makes a person feel such a connection to a horse. For me, there's just something in his eyes that tells me he is on my wavelength. It's like meeting another human for the first time, when you just hit it off and instantly feel that connection. I'm not sure if there's a better way to explain it than just to say Country Tough is my kind of person!

Isn't that the sweetest face?

I've also been wondering if many owners feel this kind of connection to one or more of their horses, because I believe it is probably not the kind of reaction one would experience all that often. Just like in human relationships, you don't always "click." I'd sure love to hear some comments from people who have had similar experiences.

In the meantime, I'll be rooting for my friend tomorrow at Santa Anita!

14 comments:

Zenyattaisqueen said...

I get what you're saying about this. I fell head over heals for Colonel John the day he looked me in the eye and batted his lashes at me. Weird how some strike a person so much more than others, but you hit it- it's just a wave length that is right on the same level. Magic and meant to be I say. When Zenyatta looks at me, I can feel my soul glowing with joy. I think good people are recognizable to good horses. Special. Thanks for sharing!

Ali LaDuke said...

I've had my fair share of horse crushes, too. I even called my own horse my "Soulmare" because we were just connected on that extra special level.

And then there's my Z-love. Most people know I'm a bit... obsessed... with her.

Jo said...

Congratulations!

Nice win for him and he is a very nice horse. I totally understand the crush ;)

Gonna keep an eye on him!

Anonymous said...

Mary, why don't you ever take pictures of him with his rider?

Mary Forney's Blog said...

Yay Country!! Good for you, boy! What a thrill it was watching him come running down the stretch. He looked so proud of himself afterwards. :)

railrunner said...

Beautiful horse, great pictures and nice win! I felt the same exact way about Curlin and Indian Blessing, I swear Curlin looked me right in the eye once when I was going to see him for the Man 'O' War. After the race I ran back to the walking ring (one of only 6-7 other people) to catch him after the race and when he walked by I clapped and gave him a shout-out. He stopped and turned his head to look straight at me for a few seconds...I could have died and gone to heaven one second later! (:

Celeste said...

In my opinion, it just seems that certain horses evoke deep emotion in you, even if you don't meet them in person. I can see from these photos why you were drawn to this lovely guy, and I think it is something in the eyes - when a horse just seems to be looking at you and into your soul. At least that is my take on it since I don't often get the opportunity to meet the race horses I so admire up close and personal. I did get to see some glimpses of Zenyatta last weekend at Hot Springs and just being near her overwhelmed me.

Stephanie said...

I have this connection with my Neighbors Trotter, Linda's Call, she nipps at most people but with me she puts her head on my shoulder and just has the longest conversations with me as I rub her mane and neck and shoulders, it's like we are almost speaking directly to each others hearts, so I know exactly what you mean :) xoxoxo from Maine

Whitney said...

I know what you mean. My crush is on The Pamplemousse. It would be a dream for me to see him when we come to Santa Anita in the fall! I hope that he is doing well. Have you heard anything?

Mary Forney's Blog said...

Hi Whitney,
I've been meaning to get out to Julio Canani's barn and see what's up with the Mousse! I will let you know when I do. The Pamplemousse is something special! Mary

Sharla Sanders, Founder, The Second Race said...

Oh there is absolutely such a thing as a horse crush. I don't know what it is either, but you can look down a shedrow and a horse will jump out at you. You only notice that one, and are drawn to the horse. It's as if that horse, "asks" you to be a part of it's world.
I have that all the time, and in fact one of my current crushes just returned to the race track from a lay up, and one of the owners called me to tell me he was waiting for me. It brought a smile to my face, that I kept for the rest of the day.

I get it.

mike said...

This is a good topic. As a trainer, i can tell you that my favorite time of day is right between 1pm and 2 pm or 7:30 and 8:30 pm. Most of the time, the grind of the 'business' doesn't allow for quiet time between trainer and horse, but i make the time. There is an ebb and flow to the shedrow. Most people experience it during all of the bustling in the a.m. However, there are certain times throughout the day when it gets eerily quiet. It is at that moment that the horses feel the safety to communicate and the metaphysical world comes alive. And only if you are open to it will they allow you in. It appears that some of you have experienced the outer edges of this phenomenon.

Meredith Johnson said...

Considering I have now adopted Country Tough, I completely understand your crush. I have had him for almost a year and he has been incredibly enjoyable to work with. He is enjoying his new career as a budding event horse and is still quite a ham :)

Mary Forney's Blog said...

Meredith, Oh lucky you! And I'm so happy for "Country." He deserves a nice owner like you. :) I would live to hear any updates if you ever get a chance. Send me an email (it's on my Contact page). Thanks so much for the comment! Mary

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