We bought him from a friend about 6 years ago for my daughter to ride and show at 4 H. She was moving up in her riding skills and we were moving her from a smaller pony to a small horse. She was scared of him and swore she was not going to ride him. After my husband and our oldest daughter rode him, she decided that she would try. After a few rides, they were best buddies and have done so many things together.
Abdul has participated in many 4H classes both halter and showmanship classes as well as contesting. He was not a barrel horse, but he did not mind to try. He would run when he needed and he would go around the barrels as though it was natural. He did not ride gaited as he had walked with quarter horses too many times and we were fine with that. My daughter does prefer to ride western than English or in a gait. He would do the trail classes and give her some problems even though he had been a trail horse all of his life.
Abdul has been dressed as the Mad Hatter, one of the Duck Dynasty crew, Uncle Sam, as well as many other things during the 4H costume contests. He never minded anything that we done to him. He was even painted once to be a zebra. He has worn ball caps, wigs, clothes, etc. and would take it all in stride. He loved to place in a class as well as she did.
He was our babysitter horse for anyone that did not know how to ride or had never been on a horse, was sure to be able to ride him. He knew what he do. Many have said, he had " been there, done that" type of horse. He knew what we expected and he done it. He knew his job was to protect my daughter and that is what he done. She could ride bareback, backwards, sit crossed legged on his back, never touch the reins, etc. and she knew that she was safe. We were constantly reminding her that something could spook him, but she never felt unsafe on him.
She has turned down quite a bit of money for him and my husband always told her that the decision was hers. The answer to anyone that attempted to buy him was " you don't have enough money". We were camping once and she turned down $5,000 for him. She truly loved the horse and he loved her. The mutual respect that they had for each other was truly amazing!
She found him in the barn on Friday morning looking as though he had just fell asleep in his stall. We knew on Thursday that he was frail and we assumed that he might pass overnight. He was not ill but he was simply old and we knew it was about his time. Whatever we expected though, was not enough to prepare us for the loss. She came in totally broken and crying. She told her dad that he had passed and asked for us to give her a few minutes before she went back out to cover him and we did that. She was able to get some of his mane that she may want in a locket and she was able to go back to the barn and say her goodbyes. It was so sad! I knew her heart was breaking and there was nothing I could do to make it better.
Knowing that she had prom that night, I was concerned that she might decide to not go due to feeling so upset over the loss she had suffered. However, she decided to go and she was able to get her mind off of the loss for a bit. She did cry when one song came on that she had practiced musical freestyle too with him. She had a nice time though and we ended the evening with her and I dancing her senior dance together. A smile ended the evening and that made me thankful as I knew Abdul was there in spirit. He was once again watching over her.
For the moment, tears have ended but if I don't end the post, the keyboard may be wet. I am going to end with some photos of him. This is our beloved Abdul. RIP 03-18-2016
A Great Ride