Dusty + Belle
Belle was a big inspiration for why I decided to dedicate my life to the Arabian breed. I found Belle more than four years ago. When I first met Belle she looked nothing like the picture of her that I had seen. Belle was almost 300 pounds underweight, her hooves were over grown, and she was full of worms to the point that they crawled in her manure, which was disgusting. I changed her name from Peggy to Belle.
The history I have been able to uncover on Belle is that either in 2010 or 2011 Belle was part of a seizure out of Mill City Oregon and went into the care of Linn County Animal Rescue. From there she went into college program before being cared for by a family and coming to me.
After I put weight on her, I decided to saddle her up. Our ride went down like this: I got on and she immediately started bucking. My foot got caught in the stirrup and before I could think of the landing, my shoulder hit the ground. The impact broke my collar bone. My husband begged me to sell Belle and my gelding Sam. He promised to buy me a well-trained horse. I just couldn’t do it.
While I was recovering, I sent Belle to a trainer named Anja. Anja worked incredibly hard to get Belle to trust people again. Prior to me purchasing Belle, she had given up on people and learned that if she bucked, then she would be left alone. Belle came back to me with no buck, however, I was scared to get back in the saddle. I learned much from Anja. She taught me that consistency is key. I continued work with Belle on my own. For a year I nearly pee’d my pants whenever I rode Belle. It took time for me to build my confidence.
Though Belle tolerated me, I don’t think she really liked me until this year. This year it all changed. Something clicked with us. I find myself connected to Belle more and more every day. Today I took her out of the field and rode her bareback with the halter and lead rope. She is the only horse I trust enough to do this with. It’s absolutely amazing! It took almost four years for Belle and I to bond…it was totally worth it!
My goal in telling you Belle’s story is to instill hope in anyone of you that may be unsure of your relationship with your horse. Don’t give up, trust your gut and don’t let anyone (including husbands) convince you that life would be better without your horse. Seven months after I bought Belle, I founded AHRE with the rescue of Helena. I’m asked often if Belle was a rescue. I did rescue her to some degree and she to some degree, she rescued me.
What #RightHorse means to me
Staying committed to your relationship with your horse, even in the dark moments. The right horse may not always appear to be right initially. If you give up to soon, then you may miss the connection that could have a significant impact on your life.