The first part of this journey began with taking a look at the reality of having to find homes for my two geldings, Phatz and Tater. Today I am going to walk through the extreme levels of guilt and anxiety about the decision. Trust me, this is not an easy decision by any means, and sharing it with you guys is not any easier. However, this is a path many of us take, even though it feels like we are completely alone, we really are not.
As I look out at them munching their hay, swishing idly at flies, the difficulty of the task at hand once again hits. How can I possibly go through with this? The reality of our situation aside, these two horses are a source of joy like no other. But they have been entrusted to me, to care for and maintain their health and well being. Accepting the fact that I can no longer meet that standard is incredibly difficult in and of its own. Getting to the stage of admitting it to myself was a journey that was utterly gut-wrenching.
As the days have passed since accepting that truth, a sense of peace has settled in. The right decision IS being made because THEY come first.
The next difficult step was discussing the decision with friends and strangers alike. Pre-head injury, even thinking I would ever be without horses was laughable to me. Discussing horse sales was not a stressful event, and in fact, over the years I have bought and sold many horses. Post-injury, learning daily how to cope with the changes to my brain make formerly easy tasks a monumental challenge – discussing my horses leaving in a perfect example of this challenge.
In part of my brain, I know full well that there will be tire kickers and no shows, and people asking an endless stream of questions. In the past, that was not a big deal. I would just shrug my shoulders and move on to the next customer. Now? Fagedaboudit. For every missed appointment, every repeated and already covered question, and every person who nitpicks and finds fault with every little thing, my anxiety and stress over this once again climbs higher.
If there is one lesson I can convey to all of you, it is to not ever assume major life changes will not happen to you, that these disasters (in our case, my TBI and my husband’s cancer battle,) only happen to those mythical “Other People.”
Have a "just in case" plan worked out and in place. Make sure that you have a support network there to catch you should you fall. We didn’t have that, and now we are facing the consequences, and so are our horses. It is my sincerest hope that you never, ever have to fall back on your "just in case" plan, and at the same time, I hope you can relax in the knowledge that should a disaster strike, your horses will be taken care of.