I first met Figero in the summer of 2005. A gorgious chestnut Arabian, just two years old and full of spunk. Every horseperson I knew said, "Don't get a horse that young. Especially an Arabian."
I didn't listen. I remembered all the riding I did as a kid and all the dreams I had of owning a horse. What was there to fear? "Fig" is now six years old and he and I have both learned how much there is to fear.
I learned quickly. I tried to mount him one afternoon when he was still just green-broke and before I could get my foot in the stirrup, I was flying. The landing didn't break any bones, but the tissue and muscle damage took months to heal. My thigh is still numb.
Fig didn't have to learn fear. As a herd animal, that came naturally. But, despite his sweet temperament, he didn't learn confidence or trust either. And that's the way it's been for four years.