The story of Barney will always be special to me. He is the first horse I really fell in love with. He’s the horse that taught me my most valuable lessons in learning to ride as an adult. This is the horse that made it okay to make mistakes. We all need a horse like Barney at some stage in our careers: A horse that looks after us and forgives us.
I met Barney at Gurteen Agricultural College. When everybody first saw him, he was the eye catching horse on the yard. Everyone loved him. Everyone wanted to ride him. He loved attention and he had a certain mystique about him that just drew you in.
At that stage I was a very novice, very green rider. I never thought I’d get to even sit on this horse but as the weeks went by, fewer and fewer people liked him and then I got a chance!
From that moment on, he was basically mine.
Barney wasn’t a horse who would just make you look good.
He’d ride around, stick his nose out and that’s how he was happy. He’d fight back if you tried to pull his head in and that’s why so few people liked him. In my position, I was still learning to canter properly and jump, Barney looked after me.
As time went on I developed and grew as a rider. As I developed, he brought me to the next stage. Barney taught me to ride properly. He taught me how to ask properly. I was taught the value of relaxation. He taught me how to be soft. How to reward. Barney taught me what it takes to go from sitting on a horse in a leisure capacity to what it takes to training a horse.
The story of Barney may be at an end but the rider I am today… I owe it all to Barney.