Hi. My name is Zans Ole Chita Lena…aka Leda. Isn’t that ridiculous? I mean, come on humans, can’t you come up with something that rolls off the tongue a little bit easier, geez! I live in Leander, Texas, on a 15 acre patch of grass, dirt and rocks. I have lived her for 13 years, and it is my home. My people are actually pretty awesome. They feed us everyday, and we have clean water. Sometimes we even get to gallop around and kick up our heels in the green grass! The best part is they love me, and make me feel safe. I have a herd, and my daughter lives here too!
When I first came to live with this family, I belonged to a little girl named Katrina. She was short, and had brown hair, and sometimes she would come cry on my neck. I, of course, allowed this to happen, because she always felt happier when she left, and I knew she just needed me to stand there until she was done. Then I could get back to eating.
Katrina and I did a lot of fun things together. Like, we would jump sometimes, and I LOVE to jump. Katrina said I jump too high, but really, can you jump too high? We also had to ride in a box on wheels to other places, and I met a lot of different horses, and one time I even got to stand in the middle of a giant arena and Katrina got a medal! I could feel how happy she was! It made me happy. She scratched me, and kissed my nose, and I got a lot of carrots that day! Katrina really learned to ride on me, and we had so much fun. Of course, some days I got kinda cranky, because she would pull on my mouth with the bit, so I would give a little buck to let her know I did not appreciate that! Now when she rides me it is awesome! She learned to talk to me using her body, and not just her hands, and so our friendship got much better!
Then one day, this big black gelding appeared…yuck! I mean he was super handsome, but gosh he did not know a thing about how to treat humans who were riding him! What a pompous jerk! I hated him. Over time, my girl would ride him all the time, and pretty soon she wasn’t riding me at all. I would stand at the gate and watch her, and I would wait for her to come get me, but she would run right back down to the house, and I would sigh. Soon her mom started asking me if I would teach other little kids how to ride. Well, I figured, if I could get some good scratches and a cookie now and then, I’d give it a shot. I mean, I do know a lot about what humans are trying to communicate.
So, today I am the lead mare at the ranch. I teach kids and grown ups how to ride, and I make them earn every single step! I know how to do a lot of things, but I make those humans earn it. Now, if it is a little one, I make sure they aren’t gonna fall off! But, one of those teenage kids, they better hold on if they don’t pay attention to what they’re doing! Hee hee hee.
About 2 years ago, different people started coming to the ranch. A lot of them were sad and hurting. I could feel how sad they were, and I wanted to understand, and to help. Some of the people were standing there, but I could not figure out how they were feeling! It was kind of scary, because I need to be able to figure out if those people are safe, and when I can’t “see” them, I really don’t know what they want.
There were some grown up humans, and some young humans. They would get to meet me, and sometimes I made sure that they knew they needed me. When they want to be my friend, I really want them to know that I am safe, but that I need them to be themselves, and to be my herd and keep me safe. Just like my little girl when she was sad, I understood she was sad, and wanted to help. This new way of interacting with humans is great. Sometimes it can be frustrating for the humans, but I know that I need to teach them how to be themselves, and that when they figure it out, I can actually feel them start to get happier! It is like a glow around their heart starts to get brighter, and then I know that I can trust them to lead me, and that we can have a great friendship!