Mirava Macaraig Yuson
Many kids have cats and dogs, fish and birds, rodents,
amphibians and even reptiles. But I have a pet thats
big and powerful. Her name is Epona, and she is a horse.
My mother and grandfather bought her recently from a farmer
from a nearby barangay.
doesnt live with me. She lives in my grandfathers
farm in Indang, Cavite,and
I see her only every Saturday when we go to the farm.
She is about five years old.
It was from a riding experience in yet another barangay
nearby that I decided I wanted a horse for a pet.
During one of those Saturday farm visits, my plowing
chores were interrupted when a friend and her family
dropped in. It turned out that Mama had made arrangements
to lunch with them in their farm.
farm was huge. The big difference though was not in
size, but that they had stables, which housed three
thoroughbreds and two native horses. Since my friend
and I were not experienced riders, only the two native
horses were saddled for us. Our mothers also insisted
that we be escorted around by guides. Though we enjoyed
ourselves, we both felt that the ride would have been
more fun without the guides. My friend mentioned that
she hoped to be rid of her guide by take riding lessons
with Mia and Steven Virata, at Rancho Leonor in Silang,
still in the province of Cavite. She urged me to enroll
My experience at Rancho Leonor was so exciting. I made
new friends, both human and animal. I was able to ride
horses twice the size of the horses I rode in Baguio
or Tagaytay. By the end of the riding camp, I no longer
needed a guide. I also loved playing games with horses
-- not formal ones like polo but simple games
like Rescue Relay and Musical Poles. According to a
book I bought recently, these games are called gymkhana
events. Even if I never won, I had loads of fun.
we finished an activity, I would rush to the stables
and feed grass to the horses. Aside from learning how
to saddle and ride horses, we also learned how to groom
them and clean their saddles. Later, I realized that
grooming was my favorite part, because it gave me a
chance to make the horse happy, by brushing and cleaning
strengthens the bond between the horse and the rider.
Since the horse allows me to enjoy a ride, I also want
it to have its share of happiness.
the camp ended, I could not stop pestering my mother
for my own horse. Soon she started negotiations with
the farmer who owned a pregnant mare.
Even without meeting her, I named my horse Epona after
a powerful mare in a video game I had been playing for
a year now. I decided on that name from the moment I
yearned to have my own horse.
the day I was supposed to meet Epona for the first time,
the farm hands told Mama that Epona had met an accident
and her foal had died. This changed all the arrangements,
and the horse was not delivered to the farm. After two
more weeks of negotiations, I found Epona waiting for
me one Saturday morning.
a local horse. My younger cousins think that she looks
common, what with her dark brown coloring. But this
coloring that looks so common to them is considered
as bay. My cousins also think shes too small to
be a mother. Despite everything they say, they are now
trying to convince my grandfather to purchase horses
for them, too. So whenever I go to my grandfathers
farm, my cousins come along and help me with my Epona-related
we scoop horse manure, with certain equipment, of course.
To make fertilizer for the crops in the farm, we dump
the piles in a compost pit. Besides, I also found out
that manure left to lie around would cause the new grass
growth to turn acidic. Horses do not like their grass
that, we ride. While we still wait for the delivery
of Eponas saddle and reins, we ride bareback.
I usually lead Epona, and one of my cousins rides her
around the farm. They take turns, after which we groom
are one of the most useful animals in the world. Apart
from serving as transportation to this day, they are
also much help in farms. Horses are one of the kindest
animals. They are extremely gentle, and easy to understand,
simply by watching the movement of their ears.
horses are treated like machines by people. Though Epona
was a farm horse, she does not show any trace of abuse.
I am always watchful for these signs. You have to know
when your horse is tired or sick. Since she had a previous
owner, I am trying to establish a bond with her by constantly
talking to her. I also choose to walk her more often
rather then ride her. I am hoping that my constant grooming
of her will strengthen the bond between us. I even sing
to her, and make music with my flute. The tune I play
often is called Eponas Song, which
I also got from a video game.
still have so many projects lined up for Epona. I have
to improve her present stable and have paddocks built
for training. Epona must also be branded and registered
with the municipal government. Sometimes when I think
of these tasks to be accomplished, I wish I simply enrolled
in a riding course at a country club. Then I remember
that I do not like dressage, and I will never be allowed
in a polo field anyway. Riding on the open field and
engaging in gymkhana are my preferences.
you are with a horse often, you begin to understand
their nature and their attitude, and this endears the
horse to you. A horse makes you like her and want to
be with her. Thus, both of you are rewarded with friendship