"Beauty is simply reality seen through the eyes of love."
-- UnknownAlthough my primary teachers are my own horses, I am privileged to know and have the opportunity to learn from Heather's and Nita's horses. Many of their horses are rescues, obtained privately or at auction.
My favorite rescue is a 10-year old sooty palomino gelding, called Lucky by his previous owner. Considering his right eye was "rotting out of his head" (Heather's words) from advanced uveitis, and subsequently had to be removed, she decided the name was almost a cruel joke, and he should have a new one. His color reminded her of oatmeal, so he was dubbed Quaker, as in Oats.
There's no other way to say it: Quaker is a darling. He is a very well trained, bombproof little QH, about 14.2, same height as Poco, but much slighter in build. Once you've ridden him, he's like an elephant and doesn't forget you. I've ridden him several times, all of them good, solid rides, and now when I go up there, he always comes to visit me. He's been ridden both Western and English, and he's a very patient, tolerant, forgiving teacher. I would think this is the kind of horse to which one would entrust their child. He's totally dependable and looks out for you, but that is not to say he won't move out when you ask him. His gaits are smooth and lovely. He's honest; there's not a sneaky bone in his body. I, the original chickenshit, trusted him enough to canter a few strides on our ride yesterday, and it was quite wonderful. The second I felt a little too airborne and said, "easy," he came right back into a nice, extended trot for me.
The fact that he has only one eye doesn't seem to bother Quaker at all. He trusts his rider to keep him away from fences and obstacles, and he's not in the least bit spooky or shy. His ears are like radar when riding in a group, as he tracks where the rest of the horses are. About the only time I'm aware of his impairment is sometimes he wants to turn his head to get a better look at something, which, of course, causes him to do a few lateral steps. I prefer to think of it as an impromptu sidepass.
Although they have used him as a lesson horse, they don't really need him, and Quaker is for sale. What's sad is that most people won't look past the fact that he's a one-eyed horse. Crash is a cutie, but with his refined looks, he won't have a problem finding a loving home. Now, I'm rooting for the underdog. If my land would support a third horse, Quaker is the one I would bring home in a heartbeat. He may be challenged, but he is by no means disabled.