Natural will be in my heart forever.
We were together 24 of his 30 years. He was my first equine love.
He was low man in the small herd of our second barn. But when we moved to our last barn of 98 acres and 50+ herd he came into his own. And was the head honcho for many years. June, the barn owner, would tell me, "I don't know how he does it. He doesn't need to nip or kick. He just pins those ears back and the waters part."
One of my wonderfully vivid memories. Natural was in his prime. I owned another horse at the time too, Friea. I had taken my son out with me, who was maybe 8-ish. Freia, my son Zach and I were standing in one of the pastures. From the back 40 you could see the whole damn herd coming toward us at a gallop, up over the hill, with Natural flying in the lead. I yelled at my son to "Go to the fence -- NOW!!" I was holding Friea's lead line wondering what she's going to do as the herd is almost upon us. Thankfully, Friea was nonplussed about the whole situation and just let the herd whiz by without batting an eye.
But to see my boy out in front of the herd, mane a flyin' in the wind -- what a sight.
And then there was the time when he and I were first a team and my son was 1-ish. I was pushing the stroller with one hand while I had Natural's lead line in the other. Natural bent his head down to take in the smell of that little human in the stroller. And my son took in the smell of that big face in front of him. Melted my heart.
He'd gleam like a copper penny with his chestnut coat against the snow.
And when I'd lunge him and ask for a canter, he'd kick out one of his hind legs as though to give me the finger. Each and every time.
He sure wasn't perfect. Before he came into his own, Natural would jump at his own shadow, with me in the saddle, and just quiver if I used a stern tone of voice while atop him. And I got dumped on more than a few occasions. But I surely did love that horse.
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