Today my chosen topic is goodbyes to a horse! Many of you probably think I'm an idiot and shouldn't be getting worked up about this. After all, it's only a horse.
The past two summers, a local show jumper has been kind enough to give me the lease of a hunter, and allow me to hunt him then the following season. You can imagine how excited I am for my silly As/levels to end this year, for my next horse to arrive for the summer. I'm an emotional being and I'm going to (hopefully) give you a brief description of how its all panned out so far.
Last summer (2012) I got a small bay Thoroughbred. By small, I mean that I stood him beside a friends 14.2 horse, and he was about a cm taller, no more. I thought this horse was brilliant when I'd hunted him, even though I knew he was well known for the occasional temper tantrum. I was in love. When I was asked if I'd like to knock him about, I was completely thrilled. Of course I agreed, the first couple of weeks I saw how capable he was of throwing toys out of the pram and sulking, but we seemed to get on quite well regardless, and soon formed a bond.
I took him show jumping, (where I live we don't have the luxury of attending many eventing competitions and long journeys are required to get to the nearest). We soon realised that although he is the happiest horse to throw himself over a six foot hedge, the idea of having to jump poles in an arena did not appeal (too boring in comparison perhaps). I hunted him nearly all season and became far more confident. The day I was dreading approached. I got a phone call to say that he was wanted back. A woman from England was coming to look at hunters and he (though small), was the bravest hunter around. At the next hunt there was a lucky girl getting to ride my (adopted) pony. I took a really bad fall and lost all confidence.
After he was sold, it was back to riding younger, less experienced horses, which I do enjoy. However, I got one hunt on a big chestnut ID Gelding named Bonnie. Yes, I kid you not his name is Bonnie. I was then offered another horse after the deal with the Bay Horse had been completed, and after an amazing summer with the little pony, I could hardly say no. I did ask if it would be possible to have a horse that would do some eventing, which my kind donor agreed to, and we arranged for me to come ride it and take it with me if I liked it. On that day, it was thought that the horse might require a bit more work before leaving the yard, and I was told I could have Bonnie. If you look at the picture associated with this article you will see that Bonnie is "def" (I will be hip and trendy), not what you would call a stereotypical event type horse.
I agreed feeling a little disappointed. At first Bonnie and I did not gel. He was a really spooky, silly six-year-old horse with an amazing ability to go sideways at great speed, for what could appear to be no reason. However, after a few really good days out and a new found sense of safety and spending less time on the floor and more on his back, I have realized what a sweet person he actually is. And I've also realized I can not afford another horse, and am currently unable to cope with the thought of him going back and being sent to England. He's taught me so much. After taking me round to multiple events, like hes been doing it all his life, I could not have asked for a better horse to help me make the transition from cowardly show jumper to happy eventer.
I know that as I sit here in tears just thinking of having to say goodbye to my wonderful eventing companion, it will break my heart, so I can only hope that I can keep in touch with his future owners so that when I complete university and can afford him, he can come back to where he belongs, which is here with me. He will always have a home right here in his current paddock and stable!
*Image courtesy Flickr creative commons.