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Home With My Horse

As many of you know horseback riding has always been a passion of mine. My family got our first horse when I was just 3 years old, so I have been around them for most of my life. If you read my blog I’m assuming you probably know me which means you probably know I have a horse, but I thought it would be interesting to write a more in depth blogpost about my horse, Levi.


The most interesting and important thing to know about Levi is the fact that he is a mustang. I don’t know much about Levi’s past, but I do know he was wild at some point. I bought Levi in a city called Morenci, which is the middle of nowhere Arizona, from a girl who used him for rodeos. Unfortunately, we believe Levi was abused at some point in his life. He is not particularly trusting of people and doesn’t care much for human affection. I guess you can say he can be a bit standoffish at times, but once he gains your trust Levi is the most kind hearted willing little mustang.


I had looked at four or five other horses before I bought Levi. Even before I had bought him I had this feeling that he was the one, so much so that I drove four hours to see him! When I got him home he was quite ugly truth be told. He was underweight, he had little muscle, and his mane was chaotic and dirty. With lots more training, desensitizing, and grooming he became the horse he is his today.


For a long time I was the only person that Levi actually trusted. Levi can get spooked quite easily so we spent a great deal of time desensitizing. I have a whole process that I learned from a trainer I did a clinic with, that I use to expose him to “scary” objects. When I first bought Levi if he spooked at something he would bolt in the opposite direction. And now Levi has learned to stop and think a bit more rationally. When he does spook now he tenses up and looks but doesn’t have as much of the urge to completely bolt.


Levi is an incredibly intelligent horse. He is a very empathetic and can feel other people’s emotions. For me it isn’t even as much about riding, but rather I just love spending time with him. When I first bought him we spent a lot of time doing groundwork and trying liberty exercises. Since I have been home this summer we have started to do that again. Levi is primarily a western horse, but since coming home from college I have been riding him English as well, because I compete hunt seat in college. Recently we have been working on maintaining contact while riding because it is a bit difficult on him. Also I credit Levi as my inspiration for equine photography. I would often practice taking photos of him and simply by having him has helped me make so many of the connections for equine shoots that I have today!


One of the hardest things I have done is leaving him while I went to college. I’ve been in college for a year now and this year had definitely taken a toll on our relationship. I came home for Thanksgiving this past November, and I could tell that Levi was upset that I had been away for so many months. And to make matters worse I was under doctors orders to not ride, because I had just gotten out of the hospital. Then fast forward to this summer. Unfortunately, when I was living in London our horse Blue Jeans coliced and had to be put down. Blue Jeans was Levi’s buddy and his death coupled with my absence sent Levi into a depression. He didn’t want to do anything. He was difficult to get out of his stall and spooky again. It just seemed like the three years of progress I had made with him just went down the drain.


Coming home this summer and seeing Levi so unhappy made me feel realize that he needed a change. Levi doesn’t get ridden as often as he used to because I’m in college, so I decided that it would be best to move him into pasture. I thought moving him into pasture would make him happier and make him feel more like the wild horse he used to be. What Levi needed was freedom and a herd again. So last week I moved him to a pasture about a mile away from his old barn. The changes I have seen in him in such a short time is so incredible! He has made friends with another mustang, Olive! He has become so much more social, and he is whinnying to other horses. He is even being much more affectionate to humans and more social. He is taking treats from strangers and is letting people touch his face (which is a very big deal for him). I’m so glad that he is going to be happy when I have to go back to Philadelphia. I have wonderful friends that will keep an eye on him while I am away again.


Below I put some photos of Levi over the years! There are some recent pictures of him happy in his new home, and some other photos from when I first got him!