On Dec. 21, it will be one year since I received the best Christmas present ever – my own horse.

I thought I would do an update on Kismet because Christmas is a time to count our blessings, and she has certainly been a blessing to me. Kismet was a “rescue horse,” meaning she had been starved and her owner was selling her to the slaughterhouse.

I want to thank the people at White Rock Stables, the Oddsons – Tex Sr. and Jr. – for taking care of Kiz. She has gained most of her weight back, and her coat is thick and shiny, her mane and tail are long, and her beautiful eyes are happy.

I have received a lot of valuable information about horses from other boarders, which I really appreciate. I really want to send a special thank you to Hank Beckman, who spent months training his own yearling while helping me retrain Kiz.

I couldn’t believe it when we were finally able to get my “barn sour” horse (meaning she was so scared and insecure she didn’t want to leave the property) to cross Northwest Highway and go to White Rock Lake. We’ve since crossed bridges, creeks, railroad tracks, been caught in a thunderstorm with 60 mile-an-hour winds, and have gone on an overnight trail ride – and survived.

I have a pin on her stall door that says “every mile is a victory,” and it certainly is for both of us.

We once had a scary experience while on the bike path close to Skillman. Before crossing a wooden bridge, another rider and I waited until joggers, walkers and bikers had crossed, then we started.

Halfway across, two bikers started toward the bridge. I asked them to wait until we left the bridge, but instead they sped up and brushed me on Kiz. She reared slightly, and fortunately no one was hurt – but we all could have been, including the biker.

Many people don’t understand that just because a horse is large doesn’t mean it is fearless. In fact, quite the opposite is true.

Horses can become spooked at a puddle, a piece of paper or just about anything, and they don’t care if you are on their back or on the ground. They escape perceived danger by running away from whatever scares them or using their hooves to kick.

Many other riders have experienced this same treatment by some bikers or rollerbladers. I checked with the City’s Park & Recreation Department, and bikes are required to yield to pedestrians and horses. A pamphlet about trail etiquette is available from the Park Department.

It comes down to two things: courtesy and common sense. The trails are there for everyone’s enjoyment.

May this holiday season be a wonderful one, and if you have a special gift in mind, I hope your dreams come true – mine did with Kismet.

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