Petey the Horse's Long Lost Friend

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The Open Gate

By Ella Coles

When I first heard I could write an article for Horse Community Journals about my time at a gold-level show, I immediately started writing about the incredible experience it was for me. But then I stopped for a moment and thought it would be more important to write about how it was for my horse, Petey. 

Back when he was in his prime, Petey used to show pretty much every single weekend. This was not his first “rodeo” and he knew exactly what to expect: a stall with a big bed, lots of walks, lots of riding, and many, many jumps. And for the first day he was correct, and he expected everything that was thrown at him. Diagonal line? Easy. Spooky vertical? Not scary enough. Picking up the correct lead on the flat? Done. Wide oxers? Make ‘em wider. But that quickly changed when Friday evening rolled around and a certain horse arrived. 

Petey was quite content, munching away at his hay. He swished his tail at flies as I calmly brushed him down, making his beautiful black coat shimmer in the evening sun. Suddenly he heard a neigh! He usually ignored those annoying horses that wouldn’t be quiet, but this one was different — he recognized the neigh! All of a sudden Petey got a surge of energy; he yanked away from his hay net, quickly spun around to the door of his stall, and with a firm push of his head the door was open. He zoomed out of there, trotting down the hallway that was empty of people… other than me. I was a bit stunned at first because Petey is the most laid-back gelding I’ve ever been around. Now he was running away! 

I grabbed his halter as quickly as I could before he went galloping all over the showgrounds, but little did I know he had no plans to leave the barn. I attempted to turn him around to bring him back to his stall, but his hooves were planted. He just kept making a forward motion with his head in the opposite direction. He was obviously desperate to see something, so I decided to take him that way — but really, he took me that way. I expected him to go outside but instead he marched over to a certain horse’s stall. As Petey’s head poked over the door, a horse quickly jumped up and met noses with Petey. I’ve never seen two horses so incredibly happy to see each other. 

When I turned Petey back to his stall he followed willingly, and for the rest of the show he did extraordinarily well, winning ribbons. I can only guess where the horses knew each other from, but it was obvious they were long lost friends reunited at last. 

About Ella Coles:

Ella Coles

My horse Petey is my best friend. I am a 14-year-old girl who loves long trail rides and bareback riding without a bit. I developed my love of horses when I attended a couple of horse camps when I was younger. I started riding lessons when I was 11. Petey is a 22-year-old Warmblood gelding that came into my life when I was 12 and we quickly became partners. Because of COVID, my first entry into the show ring was in 2021. My third show was Thunderbird Equestrian Park Season Opener in April 2022 where my story took place. Petey is now retired from showing and we enjoy long trail rides and lots of liberty work. 

Related: Stallions and Slippers

Photos: Ella Coles and Petey, courtesy of Ella Coles.