Lanaha was no ordinary horse. She was my half-thoroughbred American Paint Horse, a stunning and spirited tobiano bay paint mare. When I think back to the moments we shared, a rush of memories floods in, each one weaving a tale of trust, challenges, and an unbreakable bond that spanned over three decades.
Lanaha and friends in Owensboro, KY.
A Horse’s Caution and a Lesson in Trust
One particular day, as we rode in the indoor arena in Garrettsville, Ohio, the ground was being watered down to minimize dust. It’s a common sight – wet patches appear darker. But for Lanaha, this ordinary occurrence triggered something deeper. With a cautious disposition, she instinctively shied away from the darker, dampened spots. Her wary nature was guiding her steps, reminding me that for a horse, unfamiliar ground could hold danger.
Lanaha and Jennifer at the 1st Free Radical Ranch in Owensboro, KY.
Dale, the barn owner, encouraged me to guide her back on track. I hesitated, unsure of how to reassure her. Yet, after many rounds and countless moments of patience, something extraordinary happened. Lanaha mustered the courage to step onto the damp ground. With every cautious step, our connection grew stronger. It was in that small victory that I truly fell in love with her spirit. This day cemented our future because it led to me keeping her for the rest of her long life.
Jennifer with Miss PeaPod and Lanaha in Lexington, KY in 1996!
Facing Fears and Building Bridges
Years rolled by, and our adventures continued. In Lexington, we encountered a path flanked by fields, where tractors left their marks. A particular piece of machinery caught her attention – a Granger-labeled contraption with an open door and a large tube overhead. Lanaha’s instincts again spoke loud, and she shied away. I urged her forward, attempting to convince her of its harmlessness.
Delilah Sioux and Lanaha on an adventure in 2005.
Persistence was our guide, and with every passage near the machine, we inched closer to acceptance. But life has its own way of reinforcing lessons. As we passed under the tube, a bird’s nest revealed itself, birds swooping down in defense of their territory. Lanaha’s instincts had been validated yet again. She had a point – her caution was justified.
Jennifer and Lanaha after a ride in 2009.
The Heart of Our Connection
Through these moments, our bond deepened. It wasn’t just about training; it was about trust and mutual respect. Lanaha taught me that trust is a two-way street. She had to trust me as much as I trusted her. Our connection went beyond riding; it was a dialogue of understanding, a shared journey of navigating fears and uncertainties.
Here’s Lanaha as she appeared in my 2001 Christmas card!
Lanaha lived a long and fulfilling life, reaching the age of 32. Her legacy goes beyond the hoofprints she left in the fields. She reminded me that sometimes, instincts and intuition are worth heeding, and that the strength of a bond can overcome any obstacle.
Lanaha grazing with an alpaca in her retirement!
Unbreakable Connections with Animals
As I reflect on our time together, I’m reminded that every interaction with animals is an opportunity for growth, learning, and connection. Lanaha’s lessons are etched in my heart, a constant reminder of the depth of our relationship and the beauty of embracing the quirks that make each animal unique.
In the end, it wasn’t just Lanaha’s striking appearance that left a mark – it was her spirit, her wisdom, and the journey we shared that will forever resonate in my life.
The last time I sat on her back. It was 2015.
She entered her full retirement era after that!
Visiting Free Radical Ranch
If you want to connect with our incredible animals, come visit us at Free Radical Ranch. Our doors are open, and we can’t wait to share the magic of our farm with you! Join us in making unforgettable memories.
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15299 Parkers Grove Road
Morning View, Kentucky 41063