Pasha came to me in a dream while he was owned by my friend who, unbeknownst to me at the time, was preparing to leave the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. I had been working with them to help rehabilitate Pasha’s hooves which had been filed painfully down until the sole was very thin.
When I told her of my dream, she told me she would be leaving, and we made arrangements for Pasha to become mine. He was an Arabian thoroughbred cross who had had a racing career in Bahrain. My friend told me that Pasha could not be tied. She said that she knew I would try, as she had even after she was told, and that the results were consistent that Pasha would panic.
He would go into a blind panic, she said. He doesn’t need to be tied, he will stand there. Don’t tie him, she said, but I know you will.
I resisted seeing for myself for a good long while, and then one day, I thought to myself, we have a good rapport. He trusts me. I think I can try it, and I will put just the thinnest breakable strand of baling twine to attach the rope to the rail. The amount of pressure when he pulled back was just a whisper before the twine broke.
Nine hundred pounds of blind horse danced, then lunged forward, spun and danced some more. I am thankful he did not get injured, that I did not get injured, and I was able to catch and calm him quickly.
When his feet came under him sound again, he gave lessons to my girls, and had one last run with me across the desert before he wound up with an infection that proved fatal in spite of the vet being called out repeatedly to see him.
Pasha is a lifelong lesson. There are points of pain that the barest whisper brushed against them will cause a blind panic, and that we can map them out and protect them, and even more that we can come back from a panic with no harm done. A dance, a lunge, and a deep breath, then we take up our lead rope and come home again.