Who amongst us has not felt the pain of letting go? Be it our children off to college, our kids into the service or a horse sold on to another owner when you just did not mesh with each other. I recognize the first couple of examples are certainly more intense and heartfelt (or they can be) than letting a horse go, but letting a horse go after months or years of training together is often a bitter pill to swallow as well.
Lauren and I got to the show at Pine Hill Friday afternoon to find the horse once owned by our dear friend looking out of the stall at us.Her beautifully defined head was hard to miss as she looked expectantly at us for treats.
My friend is a barrel racer-a western rider- and this pretty mare, after extensive time and training was more suited to be an English mount than a western. My friend is a huge animal lover and each of her animals is like family to her. She asked me to help find this girl a new home in her discipline. The mare was at my farm for a while, in fact if you look at my banner picture on the blog she is running next to Mickey.
She was purchased by a great family and has done well with her new young lady who loves her perhaps as much as my friend did. It was a nice surprise to see them at the show. I sent the above picture to my friend. She was happy to see her old horse doing so well but a little sad as well that it couldn’t have been with her. I understand that feeling well. A year ago at this show we had Leo with us (the first big, bay in the banner picture) and we had quite a traumatic trailer ride home waiting for the MS150 bike riders to clear road in front of us. Leo has gone to a non-show family that doesn’t trailer him. I am sure he is much happier but I still miss the big goofball.
As a trainer, rider, horse lover, we invest so much of our time, energy, love, devotion and financial resources in an equine partner that learning when to quit and walk away is hard. It happens more than we wish and sometimes in spite of our best efforts. At this moment, Joey the big OTTB that we have followed from the rescue will make a move from Caroline’s loving care to Florida to an eventing barn where his size and speed should be huge assets. Another friend is looking to exchange one mount that should have been perfect (but just hasn’t reached the potential they hoped for him) with a new, better suited horse. And of course, who is a better poster child for the horse that has been moved around than our very own OTTB Bruno. He didn’t make it on the track, couldn’t cut it at one of the big barns and was finally sent our way by Dev, who did not have stall space to re-hab him. In his case, we hope we have found the answer to his hoof problem and he does nothing but continue to improve and have a glorious career.
But honestly, this is my life where things seldom go as planned, dreamed or hoped, so maybe he never really does much after his foot is fixed. I think Bruno, like Mickey, Kid and Snowboy has secured a place on our farm forever. Or as long as I can keep it running.
One of the hardest things we can do as parents, owners of horses or individuals is to embrace the love we have around of us when it is there with us and not to pine away about what might have been once it is lost to us. To encourage, grow and liberate that love so we have done our best to prepare whomever is important to us for the world. That day when we close the door to the dorm room or close the trailer behind our favorite horse for the last time rips our hearts apart. Letting them go, so bittersweet.
Oh, and maybe it is time for a new blog top photo. Seeing Daisy this weekend makes realize how much time has past.
PostScript- Feather and Lauren were back in the hunter ring today and while all around things were improving, they are yet to be totally polished. They put in solid rounds over fences and the best flat class I have ever seen Lauren ride (certainly she had the best horse under her ever). We started working seriously on lead changes last Saturday at Dev’s, Lauren worked them hard this week and Feather produced them in almost ever instance today. Lauren rode second to Division Champion-Teri Bludworth, a solid, Houston pro. Feather had her highest placings ever and her first Reserve Championship ever. Yeah!