Several of my friends don’t understand my fondness for Copper compared to how I feel about Robin. Many would even say that Copper is my favorite. Paige isn’t really considered in this equation because she’s still so new, and while I enjoy owning her and working with her, we haven’t developed a bond like I have with the other two who have been with me for all but a small portion of their lives. I love both Copper and Robin dearly, but they have different qualities.
Robin is a pet. It is what she’s been programmed to be due to how she was handled when we were growing up together. Her work ethic is pretty mehhh and she doesn’t have a promising future as a show horse, trail horse, etc. Which is fine for my uses with her. Would I like her to be a more productive member of society, yeah, but do I want to send her to a trainer to work her through her issues? Not right now. Last night L crawled on Robin in a bareback pad and a poorly fitting bosal (that we swapped for a hunter bridle pretty quickly) and puttered around on her in the field at a walk before bringing her in the barn to trot around and ask for her head. Robin had rarely been asked for her head until last year, and considering that, she’s doing pretty well. She rounds her neck and frames up like a chubby hunter pony one minute (which is all to L’s credit!), but the next she looks as though she’s trying to smell the clouds. Since we have no serious interest in taking her to a show, it tickles L and I to no end to watch her antics. I do plan to have her teeth looked at this summer or fall, but no more often than she’s worked and with how well she maintains her weight, it isn’t super high on the priority list.
Copper is also a pet in a certain way, but he has a more professional work ethic than Robin does currently. His “childhood” was just as structured as Robin’s, but when he turned three, life got more serious. He was actually started in a manner than insisted that he go somewhere and do something with his life, which was fine 70% of the time. The other 30% he thought he should be doing the airs above the ground (start watching at 1:08) for the amusement of everyone but his rider. Unfortunately I have no photographic evidence of the wild Copper. I was too absorbed in watching his antics.
That isn’t to say that Copper didn’t have time to be a horse when he was growing up. He was mainly field kept despite showing. Copper has always found ways to express himself and his spirit for life, even just when turned out with lazy mares.
If I were in the situation where I could only keep one horse, I would keep Robin. Which may sound odd considering all that I’ve said about how she compares to Copper, but the reality is that I know that it would be more difficult for me to find her a home where she fits in and works out well and gets treated with the standard of care that I think all horses deserve.
Luckily that isn’t an issue I think I’ll ever have, so I’ll just continue to love these red horses as I have for the last seven/twelve years.