Cara & Rusty
Cara & Rusty @whoiscara
♡ Tell us about your horse!
Rusty, 35 years old... soon 36! Norwegian Fjord horse gelding, former dressage competition pony, now retired all-rounder.
♡ How did you meet Rusty?
I was about 4 years old when my parents and I sat at the breakfast table. We lived in the countryside and my parents were willing to buy me a pony, lucky me! So we had a breed book with pictures at home and they started looking at Haflingers, Shetties and Fjords while they also looked at the so called "Secondhand" Newspaper where people sold basically everything.
So my parents found an add for a Fjord Horse gelding and said they wanted to look at him. Some days later we drove to that barn and I was so excited. The owner was late so we stood at the pasture which had actually two fjords, one bigger and one tiny rather not well taken care of one. I remember I pointed at the tiny one and said: "that's my pony"
And it was Rusty! So the owner showed up, saddled him up and my parents and I went for a walk/ride with him. It was picture perfect love at first sight.
Two days later when we picked him up was also my first time on him being bareback, as I simply couldn't wait (the original owner was late again).
That was 26 years ago now.
♡ What color do you like to dress Rusty in?
I love blue but I kinda went out of blue shades. I love brown tack on him as well and I think he'd suit a rich dark green too!
♡ Did you name your horse or did he already have his name?
His birth name was actually "Dusty" but when my family bought him he was already renamed Rusty by his previous owner. Fun fact, there was a famous dressage horse in Germany whose name was Rusty too!
♡ Do you compete with your horse?
Not anymore but back in the good old days, Rusty was a very very high skilled dressage pony who has won a lot of prizes.
♡ What has been the biggest obstacle that you have conquered together?
In 26 years we went through many many tough things. I've lost my younger sister 9 years ago and battled depression and suicidal thoughts for a long long time. Rusty was always there for me no matter how dark the days were for me.
I think another big thing for us when Rusty got sick 3 years ago and it was my turn to fight for his life on a daily basis. Last year he had severe colic and he already laid down, his head in my lap, eyes closed, to go to sleep forever. I remember I held him tightly, told him he doesn’t have to be scared.
I think a relationship that exists for so long doesn’t have one certain thing that was/is hard to battle. There are always battles, there are always things in both our lives that make both of us realize how much we need each other and how much we support the other one.
Still, we had and have so so many beautiful and light moments that make all of the bad things disappear.
♡ Tell us about the most random experience you've had with your horse!
Ouf! That's a tough one and I can think of many. All the fun stuff we did like driving a Bobby car, skateboarding together, riding with flames, walk into a pig barn and having a pig kiss Rusty's nose... Rusty had also been a sort of stunt horse in his younger years and was seen in some movies and shows because he is so calm. There is literally nothing that scares him and he is so funny! Him being very extra with an attitude and being funny gives me random "wtfs" on a daily basis. Even when it's just him walking around with his bucket or throwing a plastic chair.
♡ Does Rusty have any quirks?
Way too many. He is very confident, smart and independent. For example, every summer he walks off from his herd and goes on walks by himself. The whole village where his barn is located knows him!
♡ What is your favorite trait about your horse?
His independence, wisdom, and honesty. He stays true to himself, he doesn't let anyone fool him. He makes the rules and lets you figure them out patiently. He is always up for suggestions but in the end, he decides whether he likes your idea or not. Rusty is also very friendly but if he doesn't like you or finds you boring, he'll just walk off and leave you standing there like: bye felicia! 👋
♡ What is the most annoying thing that Rusty does?
I wish I could say nothing is annoying because that's kinda true. Everything I find annoying is actually something he shows me about myself. Like when I am inconsistent, he walks off. When I don't pay attention during a play session, he walks off. I've had so so many situations where I thought he was being annoying but taking a second look at these things, they always were a lesson to learn for me
♡ What about your horse are you most proud of?
Everything. Everything he does, the way he acts, how liberated he is. I can’t put it into words, I am proud of everything he is and every hair he has on his body
♡ Can you share a funny story?
I have a lot actually because he does funny things all the time but one thing was super funny about a month ago.
Rusty knows that going to the arena means "clicker training and treats" and after that, he gets a bucket of food. So one day we were done with a great session and I fed him his after work bucket. When he was done, he walked back to the arena all by himself, showed me his prettiest favorite trick, the jambette, and came back to me like: "where's my bucket?" I laughed way too hard, and I still do whenever I think about it!
♡ What tricks does your horse know?
Smile, Hug, Kiss, Jambette, Bow / plié, Spanish walk, Turn around yourself, Lay down, "Look pretty" that's when he makes his neck look like a fancy dressage horse, "Climb everything I put in front of you", "Follow me into the food box or the tack room" (not so funny if he does it without me knowing he does)
I think that's it. Rusty doesn't know many tricks which is because he simply doesn't see a point in doing them. Repetitive training is his worst enemy and to him, Rusty needs to be proven a point that THIS is the most amazing and funniest and greatest thing to do. Otherwise, he'll walk off.
♡ Do you have any plans for the future?
To be honest, I don't. Some years ago I had dreams of teaching him how to rear, ride on the beach, etc. Now, I am just grateful for every day I am gifted to have him by my side.
♡ Have you traveled with your horse? How does your horse like it?
We have never really travelled except once for a competition camp weekend and that was nice because I got to sleep right next to him in my tent and I woke up at night and saw him sleeping laying flat. But otherwise we never really travelled.
♡ What is the silliest thing Rusty spooks at?
NOTHING. Hands down, I swear to everything that's holy I haven't found anything yet in 26 years that makes him spook.
♡ What is the weirdest thing your horse has eaten?
Hahaha A LOT. When I was a kid I would always share my school lunch with him because my mom would get angry if I hadn't eaten in school. Rusty stole popsicles, snickers, bread with cheese... you name it.
♡ What does your horse's day-to-day look like?
That really depends on the season. In winter I drive to the barn when it is already dark outside and I work out Rusty in the pitch black dark, which is absolutely not a problem with a light horse that's calm. Because of chronic disease in his intestines, I need to work him at least every second day.
In summer he is outside on the big pasture and moves himself a lot already so he has more days off in summer.
Rusty lives outside 24/7 with his herd. His favorite mare is a 34 years old black pony named Rosy. They both get a separate pasture in the morning so they can eat without others bothering them. Same in the evening.
I try to make his day as exciting as possible and I think him living in this amazing barn we're at is the best thing that's ever happened to the both of us.
I also have a disabled child handling him which makes his day a little more exciting too!
♡ Tell us about your adorable bestie with paws! Does she love your hooved bestie as much as you do?
Hope is my 10 years old Australian Shepherd x Corgie mix girl. I got her in 2018 from an animal shelter.
When Hope was a baby she was found in a trash bag and then adopted to live with an old man to be his friend and motivation to leave the house. Sadly, he passed away last year and Hope found herself in an animal shelter, where I found her. I was actually looking for a pitbull but Hope was the only dog not barking at me, just wiggling her tail!
Hope is incredibly sweet and everybody loves her. She has got such nice manners, I take her everywhere. Bars, restaurants, friend's places. We even traveled to Prague already and soon we will drive up to Norway together.
Hope is scared of Rusty and doesn't want to be super close to him. Fun fact, Rusty hates dogs and kicks them without a warning except for Hope! I think Hope has never spent time with horses before which is why she is rather afraid of them. Still she sometimes bumps into Rusty and makes the funniest face ever then 😆