Sending your beloved horse off to his or her next owner is never an easy thing to do, and it's harder with some horses than others. It's been months since I said goodbye to my loyal friend Toes, but I still deeply miss his funny personality, and am a little sad about that chapter in my life being over. More than any of my other horses, Toes was the one that touched my heart, and I wonder if I'll feel that bond with future horses. He came into my life at a really low time for me in the sport. I'd broken my back and then my hand, had sold my young jumper after struggling with her for several years, and I couldn't afford the type of horse I thought I needed. Unexpectedly, in came Toes, who also was in a pretty low place, and we grew together and had an amazing three year partnership.
It's interesting that in the hunter/jumper world you see some people treat their horses as a means to help them achieve their goals-sometimes leasing horses and upgrading every season, while others treat their horses like family and couldn't imagine ever parting with them, keeping them into retirement. For me, it's a difficult balance as I feel very attached to the horses I ride. I think I remember just about every horse I've ever ridden, going back to my very first lesson. But that said, I do want to keep improving and moving up the jumper ranks, and in order to do that I finally decided that it was time to sell Toes.
In my case, the sadness is somewhat quelled by the fact that instead of pushing my aging horse past his comfort zone, he is now teaching the jumper ropes to the kindest woman who spoils him and refers to him as an 'awesome super genius' (which he is, of course). He's in a happy place, so maybe it's time I start looking forward to the next chapter, which starts next week when my new horse arrives (post about the new guy coming soon!).
Have you had a favorite horse?