If you’re lucky enough to have a friend that buys in on your passion, supports your dreams & loves you even when you’re not at your best, then you know how special that relationship is. I have been blessed to have a friend like this in Lola. Lola bought in on our mission over 8 years ago & has stepped up to help riders achieve more than they imagined since. She has carried our most vulnerable children with such care, empowered countless people, challenged volunteers to be better leaders & kept watch over our herd. As she is getting ready to retire from her role here I wanted to share some Lola stories with you.
When she came to us she had experienced some less than kind handling from her people. Not that her past seemed physically abusive, more like consistently traumatic. After a couple months to settle in & see what we were all about she wholeheartedly has invested her whole self in our program. This has been such a lesson for me, your past has as much power as you give it. She decided to move on, lots of horses/people/dogs/… don’t make that decision.
Lola has been our most athletic & capable mount. She enjoyed teaching our more advanced riders to jump & canter for several years. There were several years I couldn’t leave ground rails in the arena with a beginner that was just learning to steer because Lola would detour over the rails & jump them on their trot sets. I remember one time my mom was riding her & Lola started veering toward the “jump” with a sparkle in her eye… “hold on to her mane!!”
Lola was notorious for being “tricky to catch”. If you went out to the field & fumbled around, she sometimes decided that you were not ready & took that as her invitation to walk away. One time many years ago a volunteer came to get me because they couldn’t catch her for her lesson. Sure enough Lola was out playing & romping & rearing around. Not “at” anyone, mostly because she felt good. After 15 minutes her rider drove up. Aiden was 5 years old or so & had been riding Lola for a year. He walks to the gate & says, “Come on Lola, I want to ride you.” She walked right over to him, dropped her head & let the volunteer put her halter on.
Her fantastic coat has been the inspiration for countless conversations. Counting, stretching, imagination & some great finger paint creations have blossomed on her unique canvas. She would stand patiently to be groomed/admired/decorated as long as she had been appropriately fly sprayed & there was a fan. Just looking at her evokes visions of galloping across the Plains, wind in your hair.
I’m very certain she could teach the lessons without me. In fact, I imagine she has on the days I was figuring stuff out myself! Lola has very graciously taught me some of life’s biggies: forgiveness, dedication, patience, & that a sense of humor is the often the best perspective. She has been a steady force in our herd, a shameless flirt and terrific example of leading through example & building relationships.
So thank you Lola. Thanks for showing me how to be a better herdmate, for loving our riders & for being so patient with me as I was figuring all this stuff out. You’ve made the world a better place sis <3