Albert Einstein once said the only source of knowledge is experience.
Coby gave me the experience of a lifetime. He did more than just show me the ropes over the big stuff; he taught me about life, about patience, about finding another answer instead of staring at the obvious.
He gave me roots and then he gave me wings.
First he taught me to take a joke then he allowed me to give one. I’m not sure who did more laughing, though. I think he probably got the better of me more often than not; a head butt here, an “accidental” stomp on the foot there. But at the end of the day there was still that look that said: “you’re okay, kid”.
He gave me confidence but somehow kept me grounded. Anytime he saw a little chip popping up on my shoulder he would quickly remind me that the saddle is no place for ego. After dusting myself off I’d get back on and smash that chip right back where it came from.
He often brought a fight to the party, and he’d take off with you faster than you could blink an eye. After one especially difficult day I said to him “Coby, I hate you. I love you more than I hate you, but I hate you.” He just shrugged his shoulders and said “Whatever. I’ll probably do it again tomorrow.”
And he did.
He’d see a window of opportunity and jump on it. One time he found a loophole in my bridle-off-halter-on transition and got loose at the Pinehurst Harness track during a USDF show. Three rings of elegant riders and horses and one loose Thoroughbred creating a wake of mayhem.
I’ve never seen a horse so eager and so dangerous to the start box. Nanci warned me and she was right. He’d bash your head in waiting for the countdown to finish and take off like his tail was on fire. What a handful:
In his own way I know he’s grateful to me for springing him from retirement for a while, he hated the silver sneakers aerobics class, and I’m grateful to him for every bump, every bruise, and every smile. We became partners that horse and I, I got him and he got me. He may have hung up his shoes and folded his pinney, but when he closes his eyes at night I’m quite certain he’s still galloping from the start.
It was a good run, old friend. Enjoy retirement and show those young whippersnappers who’s boss.
Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn.