Oh yes! More unexpected was just around the corner!
When I left off in Part One…
I had been describing the devastation and grief I experienced when the glorious mare, Serenity, had been moved to another barn. Just for the record, even writing about it now brings up fresh grief added to ongoing anxiety over her well being. For so many reasons, it was and still is tough to visit her at her new barn. Not the least of which is the sadness that overwhelms when I have to say goodbye and leave. She’s been on my mind so much lately. I try to comfort myself with the words my best friend continually says to me, “Christine, you can’t save them all”. Cold comfort.
However, just as she was being moved, I was being introduced to Horse Number One! The adorable, ueber-intelligent, mischievous, big-hearted, three-year-old Appaloosa gelding, Spirit! He “had me at hello”. Or should I say “…at nicker” 🙂
My barn buddy, Phyllis, had introduced me to trainer Bryan, because once Serenity was virtually lost to me, I was going to begin looking at rescue horses. She thought Bryan could help me.
Wiser heads convinced me that perhaps I should explore getting to know whole and healthy horses before dealing with horses in need. Gee, why didn’t I think of that? 🙂 So when Bryan introduced me to Spirit, I easily agreed with the wiser heads. The one problem being Bryan wasn’t so sure that he would sell me the little Boy.
There is a saying in the horse world, “green on green equals black and blue”. In other words, pairing me up with a virtual baby, when I was so very inexperienced, could be difficult and dangerous. Bryan was training him daily and giving me lessons weekly for the next few weeks. Then he had me ride Spirit for my lessons and observed how good he was for me under saddle. Even if he had a horsey jump/flinch or spook, somehow the little Boy kept me on him. (This has held true in the ensuing months as well).
With ongoing training promised, Bryan finally agreed that Spirit could be mine.
In the meantime, just about every horse person I knew was shaking their head in concern that I would be dealing with a three year old; which did NOTHING for my confidence! Looking back, perhaps they were right. But it was already too late for me. I loved that little gelding wholeheartedly. With lots of prayer, and in humility, I went forward with buying him.
Eight months later, I am still getting a daily education on the three year old horsey mindset and there’s been a bit of black and blue – nothing more than a broken toe and a few bruises 🙂 Perhaps part of the “accelerated plan” our Creator has for me was just this: how to deal with an intelligent, energetic, clever, lovebug of a baby horse.
As Spirit was still boarding at Bryan’s barn, I had the opportunity to get to know many other horses in my time there and just happened to be there the day after an exquisite Paint mare, at that time named Sylvia, arrived from a farm in Illinois.
She was five years old, had had some fine training, had been in pasture for a couple of years and was coming to Bryan to be trained up (“finished”) to be a show horse and be sold. Her “family tree” is a an impeccable list of million dollar horses and she was to be sold for top dollar after Bryan did the finishing of her.
When I met her, she was still tranquilized,very still, quiet and shut down. I offered her some baby carrots. People poking their heads into her stall told me she wouldn’t eat them because she wasn’t used to treats. After a half an hour of speaking to her softly, petting her and letting her smell the carrots, even in her shut down state, she ate them 🙂 Of course! She’s a horse!
She began getting more animated in the week that followed. I would spend lots of time with her as well as with Spirit. She would even whinny, calling out to me, when she saw me coming for a ride on Spirit.
Then one day, she and I were just having some pet and scratch time and suddenly it was as though I heard a tiny voice in my head. “Please, I don’t WANT to be a show horse”. I gasped because this sentence was so clear and audible. I looked at her and said aloud, “I can’t afford you sweet Girl. But I will do everything in my power to honor your request.”
Thus began the saga of Baby Doe….
Coming soon…Part Three 🙂