Wooing Merlin: A One-Sided Love Story Between A School Horse Who Thought The The Woman Who Loved Him Was Annoying
It took an entire summer of visiting Merlin every day before he would even acknowledge my presence. Eventually, he began to trust me. And then one magical day, he greeted me with a soft, sweet whinny, and stuck his head out and let me pet his beautiful face. That was the day I put on my buck-it list “buy Merlin.”
Who could not fall madly in love with a horse that had retreated into his own world?
After the first time I rode Merlin, I took a few more lessons with him. The first lesson he bit me three times and I trotted two laps before I was too tired to continue riding.
My next few lessons were a little better. I trotted two laps, took a break, and trotted one or two more laps before I was unable to keep riding and Merlin only bit me twice.
During those first few lessons which were thirty minutes long I probably walked for 25 of those minutes.
Merlin continued to bite me with each lesson, but only on the butt, and only when I was pulling down stirrups before I mounted. At least he was predictable. [My Horse Bit Me On The Ass — And Laughed]
It was clear to me, the relationship I was building with Merlin, I loved him, and I annoyed him.
Taking The Summer Off
Then something happened. Summer camp. The barn was full of young riders and I lost my nerve. Kids as young as six were more advanced than I was and seemed fearless around horses. I was still barely able to trot and remained convinced Merlin hated me — or worse, I was too insignificant to him to even hate.
My self-imposed verdict: I was not worthy to ride. I was too old, too fat.
So I decided to let my daughter (Lizzie) attend riding camp all summer long and I would resume in the fall. At least that is what I told myself. I was not giving up, just postponing things. I really was not a quitter — I run a successful business that requires I win at everything.
But horses were different. And, besides, I was just being a realist.
So I decided if I could not ride I would make Merlin my project. I would win him over without a crop or kicking him into submission. I would make him actually like me — or, at least acknowledge me.
Lizzie and Tequila, her first pony love. Tequila is always a favorite with summer camp kids — his good looks and loving personality are absolutely addicting.
Four days a week Lizzie rode at camp and every day she was there I went to see Merlin twice a day. She was in mad-love with a pony named Tequila so we visited both our “boys” seven days a week, rain or shine even when she did not ride.
Tequila always greeted Lizzie with wild enthusiasm and obvious excitement and affection. Merlin did not seem to care about me at all or whether or not I visited. In fact, he seemed annoyed I kept interrupting his days. But I thought if I could win him over when I rode in the fall he would like me better and maybe he would not bite me anymore.
Or maybe, there was something else to my obsession with Merlin. I was beginning to see myself in him.