We lost Star today. The most intelligent, aggravating, bossy, hateful, particular, sweet, cunning, witchy, stealthy, precise, destructive, club footed horse to walk the planet. It took Star and I 25 years to finally learn to get along. She demanded subtlety, and I tend to be an aggressive rider, so she and I often came to loggerheads. She had the worst spook of any horse I’ve ever ridden, could buck like a two-year old mustang, and ripped fence posts out of the ground if left tied too long (ie anytime at all). She hated being curried, and often refused to stand still to be mounted.
So why in the world would anyone love this mare? She had three beautiful gates with amazing suspension, threw her toes out for every step with flat knees, and naturally carried herself in a dressage frame. She jumped as round as a basketball, and riding her canter was like sitting on a piece of silk. Star could make me absolutely crazy, but she had a sense of fairness unlike any other animal. She took offense at a great many things, and dealt punishment swiftly, but offered reward just as quickly. If you cued her correctly, she immediately responded. She loaded in the trailer like a dream, and never grew bored with arena work. She taught me to pay attention.
Despite my odd, dynamic relationship with this silly mare, she was thoroughly my mother’s horse. They had the most unique bond. She never ran when my mom walked out in the field with a halter, and rarely broke halters for my mom. I could have a meltdown ride, but Momma could put her foot in the stirrup and settle her in. Star had a great appreciation for finer things, and thus she was the only horse my mom rode in a KK bit. The two together have probably logged more miles up Lone Mountain than any other horse/rider combination in Tennessee. Whenever Star was hurt, she came to my mom for treatment rather than fighting, but this is only fitting since my mom saved Star’s life.
Even as a baby Star was making her bid to become the alpha. She would run and kick at Stormy continuously to keep her in her place. One day, Star kicked a little too high and hung a leg over the top strand of the barbed wire fence. When she felt her leg catch in a barb, she panicked and ran, jerking her leg over the barbs. She sliced her leg so badly, that when Momma came out to check her, she had to hold her inner thigh muscle to keep it from falling out. It took over 200 stitches to close the muscle back in Star’s leg, and she was touch and go for a while. Horses can lose a great deal of blood, but they can only lose so much. Star required round the clock care for days, then daily care for months. Had my mother not administered this care flawlessly, she would have lost Star.
Star lived a good long life. She was the first horse I learned to post on in an English saddle, taught many of my 4H kids how to respect a horse’s mouth, and rode as “shotgun” for horses who were nervous in a horse trailer and needed a riding companion.
While Star was my mom’s companion, she was my last link to Stormy. Despite Star’s solid color, lack of striped hooves, white sceleras, and mottled skin, she was in fact full appaloosa. She was Stormy’s full sister. They lived their entire lives together. First at my dad’s house, and then later at my grandmother’s stable. These sisters weren’t separated until we lost Stormy 16 months ago. ApHC mares Storm Cloud Sarsi and Miss Majestic Star founded my equine education and will forever remain first in my heart.