The Lessons He Taught Me
My beloved Morab gelding Omar a 22 year partnership
Omar was my first horse. Omar was a very intelligent horse and when I first began riding him I was as green as grass, so in many ways he was my first riding instructor.
Omar taught me to sit up straight in the saddle, keep my heels down and to use my legs and seat to ride. He was stickler for that, if I wasn't seated properly and riding properly he would let me know. It's funny how I had people around me giving me instructions, but it was Omar's instructions that I listened to most often.
Like any good instructor Omar always made certain I was sitting up straight balanced in the saddle and paying attention. Sometimes his lessons were a little tough, like when he taught me about never cantering your horse towards home. That day he also taught me to stop worrying about stopping the horse and to just ride the horse. I kept pulling back on the reins and he didn't respond, but when I relaxed some and began to really ride he finally slowed down and stopped. That lesson I never forgot.
Omar taught me enjoying the ride or having fun was fine, but never lose your focus on the horse. I was fooling around one day riding Omar bareback and trotting him around poles ( pole bending) which was fine, but I was also talking to fellow boarder at the stable and lost my focus. Omar got my focus back by making a rather quick and unexpected turn which caused me to lose my balance and hit the dirt with thud on my rear end. I swear the expression on his face was " Okay kid are you done fooling around let's focus here,". If it hadn't been for Omar I wouldn't have learned about collection of gaits, lengthening your horse's strides, how to soften your horse and making him flexible. Omar taught me to be balanced and correct in the saddle to help the horse be balanced and correct. He taught how how to communicate to my your horse what I wanted him to do through my hands, legs and seat together.
Omar and I in 1977
The experience you have with your first horse you will never have again. I guess it's like your first love. I realized this when I was training my young mare who was the horse that would fill Omar's shoes. You see that mare would look at me like " How'd I do-did I get right-what's next?" when I was training her. I realized that I never saw that expression on Omar's face. Omar's expression was always," Okay that' s better, but you need work a little hard. Not bad kid,". He was the trainer and I was the one who needed training. I think we both new that.
Maybe I'm crazy, but I swear one day when I rode past Omar's stall during a training sessions with my mare he nodded his just slightly and looked right at me as if to say, " I'm proud of you, there is nothing more I can teach you kid,". Thank you Omar for helping me become the horsewoman I am today. Still miss you old friend everyday.
Editors Note- Omar has been gone for 23 years this coming July and is still missed