Blue Roan Appaloosa
When looking out on our herd here you will notice many different horses. Some are flashy and really eye catching; others are striking in conformation or personality. It is a nice remuda of horses and full of some of the most talented therapy horses ever. We however, are going to take a closer look. Past that flash and personality is a dark colored old man standing back outside the herd. He would be easy to miss if you did not take the time to really notice.
Dude does not have all the flash. Despite being an appaloosa Dude’s color makes him look more dirty than anything else. He is not the class clown or even a very affectionate horse. He can be agreeable or not depending on the day. He stands in the warm fall breeze and looks like he is asleep. The winds play with his wispy main and tail. His head is down, eyes heavy. From where we stand it seems like he is disinterested in the daily goings on of the rest of the horses. He comes in to eat but won’t share a feeder. When he is done he goes back to his little hill and there he is…”being” in the sunshine.
He is a horse that would not get your attention right away. He is not physically as appealing as the other horses and makes himself unavailable. So what makes him such a wonderful therapy horse? It’s in the way that we had to slow down and look past the exterior “noise” to notice Dude. His personality challenges us to look past our initial assumptions and distractions and search for something deeper. He is confident and intentional. He is the head of the herd for certain. Dude has an internal strength and is completely comfortable in his own skin. He spends his day on the hill because he can see what’s going on. When there is a disagreement in his herd he meanders down…deals with it and heads back up again. He can see who leaves to work and makes sure everyone is back at the end of the day. He lives every day in simple confidence. Standing with him is like breathing for the first time. It’s a calming weight of internal strength that not many have felt.
He will show you how to slow down and be mindful. He teaches us how to recognize problems before they reach crisis as well as how to be comfortable with yourself. There is a wonderful calm knowing in Dude. His personality is not one that will just give it away, but the simple act of asking to share space with him will open a door to an old horse that can change your perspective from that moment forward.