Harmony Tribute Page
Harmony was an 18-year-old Appaloosa hunter jumper at Little Burgundy Farm. Virtually every beginning student started with Harmony before graduating to another horse. She instinctively knew when she carried someone with little riding experience and that she needed to go slowly. And she had the slowest walk of any horse ever seen. Harmony was almost every student’s first — first ride, first trot, first canter, first jump, even first fall. The trainers loved her consistent, steady disposition during lessons.
Harmony knew her job well, better than any other horse on the farm. She was the backbone of the Little Burgundy Farm riding program.
Harmony loved to jump. Her plodding, beginner lesson walk became a springy trot, snapping to life when she saw a jump ahead of her. Her ears would prick forward as she focused on the obstacle. Her steps were sure and purposed as she trotted over the lower obstacles. She was all business as she cantered over the higher ones. Sometimes in her excitement, she would leap over a small eighteen-inch jump like it was three-foot-six, surprising the rider by her sudden colossal movement.
This eagerness to jump made her a favorite for the small horse shows in the surrounding area. Steady in the ring during lessons, Harmony had a temperament when among other horses. She often showed her displeasure with a high-pitched neigh followed by a quick nip and sometimes swift hoof aimed at another horse that got too close. During competitions, she wore a red ribbon in her tail to signal other riders that she might kick out. However, she proved herself by often bringing home a ribbon or two from the day’s events.
Harmony not only taught beginners how to ride, she also schooled the other horses at the barn on proper manners, when to show respect for other horses, and generally, how to act as part of the herd.
One day, a new horse arrived on the farm. This young pony had atrocious manners. She had lived by herself most of her short life, owned by someone who really didn’t understand how to take care of a horse. She had been left to roam free at her previous farm and was fed treats like a pet. As a result, she learned to beg, got mad when treats weren’t offered, and generally didn’t understand that she was a horse. Harmony immediately went to work, first putting the new pest in her place among the herd. She then mothered the young pony, even allowed the pony to eat from her feed bowl from time to time. The pet quickly became a horse under Harmony’s watchful eye.
One Sunday a couple of years ago, a student arrived for her weekly lesson. Her little sister, about three years old, was wheelchair bound. Her feet were encased in plaster casts past her knees and her sparse, baby-fine hair had the appearance of a steady chemotherapy regiment. Before her lesson on Harmony, the young student asked her trainer if her little sister could pat the horse. The trainer led Harmony over to the small child, dwarfed by the wheelchair surrounding her. Harmony, sensing the fragile creature before her, lowered her head, stood quietly, and closed her eyes as the little girl patted her on the nose and cheek.
Harmony shared herself with all who came in contact with her. No one left untouched in some way.
She will always be remembered.
May her spirit rest in peace in the green pastures she so loved.