Thursday's Child ... has far to go ... (0nm10wn2feet) wrote,
Thursday's Child ... has far to go ...

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The end of my horse life...

No, NOT my horse's lives, just the end of my life with horses.  Maybe.  Probably.  We'll see how it shakes out?

It all started with the next door neighbor's granddaughter.  She's positively horse-crazy.  Just like I was at her age.  Just like Jessa was at her age.  The kid will do ANYTHING to be allowed to fuss w/the horses.  Fortunately, she knows there are firm limits on what she can do without us out there with her, so she's very good about stopping at the house to check.

Well, she stopped in about two weeks ago on a Sunday morning, just as I was finishing my breakfast, so we went out and Kennedy brushed Socks while I kept both of them busy and chatted with her mom.  In the course of conversation, I casually mentioned that I was going to start looking for somewhere to place both horses, since they are really just languishing out in the pasture year after year.  It's especially unkind in Doc's case, since he has the breeding and conformation to do well as a show horse in a number of disciplines... hunter/jumper, hunter hack, huntseat pleasure, etc.  He has a very sweepy trot and a naturally level head-set - plus the darn cuss is smarter than he should be.  I have every confidence that he could be competitive either on the local jumping circuit, or in English events at Quarter Horse or Palomino breed shows.

After discussing how horribly expensive horses are in general, Kennedy's mom said she'd ask around at the barn where Kennedy was taking lessons.  This place has a certified Therapeutic Riding program for mentally & physically handicapped people, and Socks would be PERFECT either as a Handicapped Riding horse, or as a 'school' horse for the lesson program.  Socks has done both in the time that I've owned him, so it wouldn't like anything would be brand new to him.  My old horse has been incredibly versatile in the years I've had him, and even before then.

He went to the Palomino World Show twice... once when he was a two yr old, and again, as a Youth Horse, when he was 8 or 9.  He was my show horse in Western Pleasure, he was terrific in Western Halter classes, & he was great for the Mother/Daughter class at the annual 4-H Mother's Day show, since both Jess and I could ride him equally well.  I let my trainer use him as a lesson horse occasionally.  I loaned him to one of the girls in Jessa's 4-H club when her horse came up lame for the County Fair one year.  I loaned him to another girl who needed a solid English horse for school Equestrian Meets.  I used him for the "pony ride" fundraisers that our 4-H group would hold.  I hauled him to the Therapeutic Riding program that our 4-H leader had at her barn.  I shared him with a girl who needed a horse to be able to compete for "Horse Queen" at the 4-H Fair one year.  He's been THAT good.

And, throughout all that, we also went through a scare with him colicking one winter - which culminated in him having colic surgery at Mich. State Univ. and staying there almost 2 weeks to recover.  We nursed him through that, and he came back just as good as before.  All in all, he was the PERFECT horse at the perfect time of my life.  I just don't feel like I got to truly get tired of the experience before it all came to a screeching halt.

Ah well, water UNDER the dam and OVER the bridge, as I always say!  That, and a whole slew of other stupid aphorisms.  Continuing on, Kennedy's mom called me the following week, all excited, to let me know that the owner of the farm where Kennedy rides was interested in talking to me about my guys.  Suddenly, I came face to face with a brick wall that I've been trying to avoid for YEARS.  And it hurts like a bitch, but there you have it.  Do I keep the poor beasties around, not working and not getting the health care that they need, or do I do what's best for THEM and pass them along to new experiences?  In Doc's case, it's a no-brainer.  That poor animal is SOOOO freakin' wasted here.

Socks is the proverbial "horse of a different color," however.  He's 25.  He's had major surgery already and colicked once after that.  He's earned a peaceful 'retirement,' with people that love him and fuss over him; people who can afford the various strategies he'll need to keep him pain-free and happy for a few more years.  If he's sold, legally, I have no say in what happens to him subsequently.  If I donate him to this Therapeutic Program, my only recourse will still be to insert a clause in the donation that gives me first right of refusal if the dude wants to sell him (which, of course, a LOT of people don't pay ANY attention to).  Talk about tough choices... this comes roughly close to choosing to give away one's children, y'know?

Anyway, Melanie and I went out to the farm on Tuesday this week.  It is as good a farm as any I've seen.  Let's face it, nowhere will be absolutely PERFECT.  There is no such thing as a totally clean barn.  There is no such thing as the PERFECT paddock or turn-out.  There is no such thing as a Taj Mahal for horses, but this place is nearly there.  There's a few more horses in each turn-out than I'd like to see, but the owner assured us that he's building more this coming spring.  Yes, they feed round bales on the ground - and Mel doesn't like that idea for Socks, but his hay is ground-fed here at home already.

Overall, it's an ideal place for Doc.  They may be able to start him jumping, which I truly believe he'll take to like a duck to water.  I'm not as bonded to Doc as I am to Socks, quite frankly.  I find it relatively easy to part with him, but Socks??  Um, nope.  However, IF he's kept either as a Therapeutic horse or a school horse, it could work out for him.  I will, of course, be dropping in to this place every so often to see the boys and judge for myself how well they're doing.  I'm just kinda procrastinating on calling the vet to get their shots and tests up to date prior to taking them over there.  Did I say procrastinating?  Dragging my heels is more like it.

I finally have to face letting go of my dreams where the equines are concerned.  I lived it for a short time, but didn't make it all the way.  Damn close, especially in view of the potential we had, but no cigar.  Now I also get to drown in all those memories, as I go through all my equipment and tack.  I have so many "show clothes" for horses, it's pathetic.  Tail bags, slinky hoods, turn-out sheets, cooling blankets, shipping boots, stall sheets, leg wraps (both track & shipping), splint boots, fly sheets, fly masks... good god, that doesn't even take into account any of the saddles, bridles, bits, headstalls, reins, saddle carriers, bridle bags, halters... ok, I'm quitting now.

Suffice it to say, I have equipment, "clothes," tack and other assorted paraphernalia all over the barn, the trailer, the garage AND the basement.  I'm beginning to feel that creeping paralysis that comes over me when a task becomes almost too daunting to consider.  Especially since the farm owner has offered to allow me to park my horse trailer there and advertise it for sale through him.  Of course, my dear friend is chomping at the bit to come over (and escape her own madhouse for a time) to help me spiffy up the trailer and ready it for sale.  We're talking a 25' long, 3-horse slant-load w/sleeping quarters, under-manger storage, roof-rack, AND a rear tack room.  I think my brain is going to implode from the sheer magnitude of what all this represents.

Still, it would be the best thing for the "boys."  It's not fair that they should languish just because I have neither the energy nor the funds to attend to them properly.  That's the bottom line, I'm afraid, and all the weeping, guilt, regret, and gnashing of teeth in the world isn't gonna change that.  Anyway... for your viewing pleasure, a couple shots of my "boys:"

Me & My Best Buddy, Socks at a show

Socks & Jessica at their last Equestrian Meet

Doc - A LOT Younger than Now!

My "Cadillac" of horse trailers...

Yes, ladies and gentlemen... another EPIC installment of my altogether too quasi-normal existence.  Sorry.  I just can't seem to stop myself once I get started pouring out my 'sad tales of woe!'  *snicker*  Seriously, I simply have a terrible case of diarrhea of the fingers!  G'night, all...
PS - Oh yeah... and MSK brought my truck back from up north with... guess what?  ANOTHER animal dent!!  Supposedly a deer ran into the driver's side door as he was driving down the road.  That might explain the dent (but it IS suspiciously low on the door), but it doesn't give me a clue as to why I now have NO TAILLIGHTS OR PARKING LIGHTS!!!  It never fails, huh? *sigh*

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