Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Requiem for a Friend

Sometimes we aren't the final landing place for a horse. Sometimes we're just a stop along their way to where they were meant to be. 
hello handsome

That's what a friend told me the other day when we were talking about Courage. 


When I met him, he needed a soft landing and I needed someone to soak up the tears from the looming inevitable. 

I loved him. I wanted him to be my horse, the one that I trusted to take me places and do all the things. He was gorgeous and intelligent and good minded and oh-so-athletic. 

When I needed him to be quiet and put the pieces of a shattered heart back together, he was there. 

But when I asked him to be the horse I always wanted, he exited stage left. Repeatedly. He gave me one good season. One giant champion ribbon. One serious education in what it looks like when a horse tries his heart out for you, but he just can't do it anymore. 

I rode through his antics. I learned to work with his quirks. I gave him a solid education in life beyond the track. 

It was hard to understand at the time and it's only a little easier now. 
just another day
I cannot overstate what he did for me and how he taught me to think through every step. To ask hard questions. To become more than myself and go beyond what I thought I could do. It wasn't always fun. It was never easy. It was blood, sweat, and tears, but the person I became because of him is someone I'm proud to be. 
and i will always love this photo
I see now that in some ways, I did the same for him. He came off the track mentally broken. Failing at a demanding career. Discarded by the people who took the most from him. Wearing physical reminders that he'd never be the horse he once was. 
his last win
He was never going to be the performance horse I wanted, but to be the horse he is now, he needed an in between time to learn that he could try again. 

I felt like a failure when I admitted I couldn't make him be what I wanted and I couldn't make myself want what he needed. 
there were a lot of years to get here
But sometimes life isn't about me. It's about giving an old warhorse a chance at a life he earned a thousand times over. 

When I met his new person, I knew he'd hit the jackpot. He stepped off the trailer at his new home and landed where he was meant to be. 
not gonna lie, i'd like to live in his barn
His owner is a private person and I respect that. I get photos of him once in a while and they make me so happy for him. He's wild and woolly and goes on trail rides in the mountains and never has to jump a jump or do dressage again. 
it's a good look for him
No primping and preening and trying to make him what he's not. No more failing and disappointment for a hard knocking campaigner who gave his all. 

It's not that I failed him or wasted my time. It's that there were things we needed to teach each other before we were each ready to be what we really needed to be. 
forever summing us up
Happy trails, my friend. You deserve them. 

43 comments:

  1. Sometimes it's hard to be just that stop along the way for a horse, but seeing them thrive in their new life always eases the pain a bit. At least it does for me. You did really wonderful things for Courage -- and sometimes letting them move on is the most wonderful part.

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  2. Thank you for the update. I admire what you’ve done with Couage so much.

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  3. It's been an interesting experience reading your blog the last few months. I see your posts about ZB and I'm so happy for you, while also having the increasing realization that I traded my Zoe for a Courage. Thanks for the update on Courage. I'm glad to hear he's doing well.

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    1. It takes all kinds. She's perfect for me right now, but other people need other things.

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  4. So glad he has found the perfect home. It is so difficult realizing you’re not the right person but when you’re the person that helps them find the right person it makes everything good again :) Plus if you hadn’t had Courage and worked with him until the end you wouldn’t of found ZB! And that certainly makes everything worth it!!!

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  5. It's too early in the morning to ugly cry like this!! Beautiful writing... <3
    And I'm so glad you found the perfect home for Courage!

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  6. im hoping to have a similar story. glad to hear that he's doing well.

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    1. I hope you find it too. Definitely eases my mind.

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  7. I'm glad to see the update on Courage. Looks like he is doing well. I'm happy he found his current home, and you found your ZoeBird.

    There's nothing wrong with not being a stop along the way. You gave him an upgrade and helped him along his way.

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    1. *being. Duh, I can't type today.

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    2. It's so complicated with the ones like him--it's definitely altered the way I look at asking a horse to do a job. In hindsight, I wonder if he wouldn't have been better served if I listened sooner, but I'll never know.

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  8. happy endings can be so hard to find with horses, but it seems you've been able to do just that for both Courage and yourself. so wonderful!

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  9. This makes me happy. I had a Courage of my own, and he's on his second home since me. It breaks my heart, but I did all I could to ensure he had a soft landing. He has to step up and do his part, too :(

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  10. Aw Courage. I think most of us have gone through that horse (I know I did!), and it is never easy. They are not bad horses, but they can just not be good partners for us. And that's ok. He is loves (as my old horse is), and that is the best thing you could have done for him. So glad he is doing well (and that you are too!)

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    Replies
    1. There's so much of ourselves tied up in our horses. It's hard to get perspective sometimes.

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  11. I needed this post today. Your journey with Courage has lasting goodness. Thank you.

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  12. I often feel conflicted because I know when I have a horse that isn't in the right place with me. But you hear all the "you should never sell a horse", "you don't know where he'll end up", "he's your responsibility forever". And while some of that is true, it's also not fair to horse nor rider to both be in the wrong situation even if it is a safe one.
    Kudos to you for knowing when it was time to move on and for finding Courage a perfect new home.
    I just got an update on Romey, and he's happily living on 400 acres and toting a kid through the woods. So his ending is a positive one too.

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    1. Aww glad he found his happy ending too.

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  13. I love this. So much. Thank you for being the stepping stone he needed to end up where he was destined to be <3

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    1. It's a strange thing to realize loving a horse means not being with them.

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    1. We'll be back to your regularly scheduled ZB shortly.

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  15. I'm glad he landed in such a perfect home...Both times.

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  16. It’s wonderful to hear he’s doing well.

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  17. This is a wonderful way of putting it! Glad he is doing well

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  18. So many feels right now. Bittersweet for sure... but maybe more sweet than bitter.

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