Everyone talks about that "one" special horse...the one that touched them, the one that changed things for them, the one that they bonded with like no other. I have had several special horses. Does that make me strange? I respected and adored them all for different reasons, but I can't say that I held any one of them in higher esteem than any of the others. I think that each one of them came into my life (chose me, so to speak) to teach me something different, at a time in which that lesson was obviously necessary. Call me crazy, that's my outlook on it.
Before the birth of my youngest daughter, and after several years of having horses on the back burner while I built a career and family...it was time. I didn't have the funds to purchase a horse, and really wanted to get things rolling, so I leased a TB gelding from my high school horse buddy who still had horses. It was quite a drive to go see this guy, and although he was just the right challenge for me at the time (reactive, energetic, short attention span, but talented), the drive to the barn combined with what I was spending on the lease didn't make sense in the long term. So, after getting my feet wet with that gelding, I got my hands on a few thousand bucks to start horse shopping. My husband was reluctant but supportive. I knew I needed to be smart about my purchase; something interesting enough for me but with the potential to be safe for children. After all, I was a wife and mom now...I had responsibilities, and of COURSE I wanted my family to be involved with the horse, too.
Horse shopping was ridiculous. I was drawn to all of the hot breeds. I looked at Arabs, Morabs, Morgans, NSH's, and a couple of Quarabs. I loved them all. I wanted them all. I thought they ALL had potential, and I got along with them well. But, when I tried to picture my 6 year old daughter being able to bomb around on any of them, I almost gave myself heart failure. I grew up with those types of horses, and they were what I knew. Their adrenaline fueled my own adrenaline. Riding or driving a flashy english type is such a rush. I realized I had to open up my mind and start looking at horses of all types. So, that next Sunday when I was looking through the newspaper at Livestock Sale ads (this was before household internet was commonplace, folks), I came across an advertisement for a 2 year old halter broke AQHA mare. She wasn't cheap, either. I thought it would be worth the drive. I called the owner, who was a very affable-sounding woman, and gave her my background and situation. She was confident that "Lady" would be a nice fit for my family, and it would be easy to get her going under saddle, that I should come and take a peek.
The day I met this sweet mare just so happened to be the anniversary of my mother's death. I tried to push that fact aside, so it wouldn't cloud my judgement. My mother asked me on her deathbed to never stop the horse thing. I had failed her, or so I thought at the time. Giving occasional lessons and taking on a training project every 2 years didn't count..., but that's a story for another day...
It was a beautiful sunny Sunday afternoon, early spring, and the smell of earth and new growth was heavy in the air. I brought the whole family this time (for the first time) on a whim. When we pulled in the drive, I was appalled at what I saw. This was a public trail riding facility...all the horses tied to the posts under the trees looked hideously skinny and sad. I tried to drive quickly past this point to the barn in which I was instructed to meet the owner...but the tears were already welling in my eyes. I vowed to buy this filly if she had even ONE bone showing.
Have to get to work ...I'll add to the story tomorrow. Happy Trails, folks!