The Color Blue

A blue day is often a dreary one; rainy with the sun not even an afterthought. It is rather strange for me to think that a horse named Blue could evoke the opposite thoughts and feelings. 

When I was thirteen, I leased a horse named Royal Crest’s Blue Slate, or “Blue” for short. She was light brown; had a big, white star on her face; and a white spot on her nose. Being pretty short and round, she was not the most elegant horse ever, but she sure worked hard.

At first, my riding abilities did not match the set of skills Blue needed to get better. She was light-mouthed, so I couldn’t pull back on her very much. Her canter (a three beat gait) was shaky at best. On top of all of that, she turned into the center quickly and without warning. Up until my first lesson on a February night, I had never experienced a horse like her. The more I taught her, the more she taught me.

During one lesson, Blue refused to go around a corner of the arena. My instructor, Melinda, who had short white hair from the stress of teaching students like me for fifty or more years, hollered her signature catch-phrase: “Kick, scream, bite, pinch, holler, punch! I don’t care just do something.”  I punched and kicked as hard as I could, but nothing worked. At this point, I was hot, tired, and burning with rage. Enter Carelton with a broom and his hat. Let’s just say she went around the corner with Carelton’s encouragement.

My riding style slowly morphed to fit Blue’s needs. I did the something Melinda was talking about. I never gave Blue and I the chance to have another lesson like that. We worked our little butts off for two years with little to show for it except our knowledge that we were miles ahead of where we were at the beginning.

About half-way through my second show season with Blue, something huge happened.

We won our first class!

But it wasn’t just that class, we won five classes in that show alone. Finally, the judges saw in Blue what I had seen all along: an amazing horse who had so much potential and just needed someone to help her reach her best along the way. After I got off, Melinda hugged me (which is rare) and my heart burned with pride and accomplishment.

So yes, blue can mean feeling sad or whatever, but it can also mean other things. Throughout our four years together, Blue became my fire, the flame that kept me going. How fitting, as the hottest, brightest fire burns blue.

Lucy Mellema

Lucy Mellema

I've been riding horses for 13 years. I also love coffee! I also teach kids how to swim very well, thank you.

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