I've not written anything this week due to the fact that I found out some sad news a few days ago, and didn't have much of a heart to write about it until now. It seems that Bay Girl is not staying with us to foal out, but is instead leaving on March 1st to go foal out at another facility. Seeing as her job of uterus will be fulfilled once the foal is weaned, she will not be returning to us. I have no idea where she will go once she her job is complete, or if I will see her again. Chances are that I won't.
I am surprisingly upset about this. Horses come and go all the time at our facility, it's just part of the rehab and conditioning process. It doesn't affect me in the slightest, and even if I particularly liked the horse (I work with them 5, 6, or 7 days a week depending, so they tend to get more attention on the whole than Bay Girl does from me), the most I ever think when they leave is "aw, bye horsey." But not Bay Girl. When we found out the owner is taking her to a different place, my heart sank. That is less than a month away. I've been a bit back and forth about the process... should I stop playing with her and wean myself off of her so I don't get so upset when she leaves? (And let her wean herself off of me.... she surely will not be getting half as much attention anywhere else that she goes). Or should I try to squeeze in as much time with her as possible?
This is not the first horse in my life that was "mine" that I felt heartbroken about when they didn't end up as truly mine. There have been two others in the past that have profoundly impacted me in a way that I'll never forget. For all the zillions of horses that come and go through my life, these particularly special ones should have ended up as my own, only they didn't for one reason or another, and I still to this day would take either one of them on for forever keeps.
The first of the not-mine horses was a leopard spot Appaloosa named Sinbad who I rode at summer camp when I was an older kid (pre-teen). The camp I attended yearly for most of my childhood had a particularly bad habit of severely mishandling their animals and then shipping them off for meat whenever something went wrong or they stopped paying the bills for them, and this horse was no exception. Mean, unruly, and violently opposed to most everything anyone tried to do with him, Sinbad was notorious for his fits and his difficulty, and nobody could handle him without a serious fight on their hands. But I loved him. I had pennies and dimes saved up in an old jewelry box with a piece of paper taped on the front proclaiming "The Save Sinbad Fund!" and I squirrel away money whenever I could, determined that someday I would be able to buy him and save him from his fate. That of course never happened, and I don't know what became of Sinbad. As he was in his late teens at the time, surely he is dead by now, and it was probably at the hands of someone about to process him for meat. I'll never know. I have old pictures of him somewhere, at my parents' house in Michigan. If I ever make it back up there, I will have to find them and scan a few.
The second horse was a VERY nice Holsteiner mare named Injoy, also very troubled and prone to fearful fits. Her owner grew tired of dealing with her emotional attitude and decided to try and donate her to my college as a broodmare prospect (she was perfectly rideable, just very difficult). Since she was leaving my home barn and heading to school, I was her primary transport and caretaker, riding her regularly while the school assessed whether or not she'd be a good fit for our program. I rode her all the time with a whip and spurs and had no problem with her, but she developed an exceptionally nasty habit with other riders of bolting uncontrollably whenever they upset her (which was constantly). She had a severe spook in her, I will give her that, but she never once bolted with me. In the end, the school decided that since she wasn't riding material, they wouldn't take her, and sent her back home. I called her owner and begged if I could somehow take her, but if she wasn't going to be donated to a program, she wanted a large chunk of change for her, and it was not something I was going to be able to afford since I already had Metro. In the end, she was donated to some incredibly horrible, run-down facility that did mounted shooting and wanted to train her for that. Seeing as she regularly spooked at the very slightest of noises, I'm not quite sure what they were thinking. When I arrived at the facility with her in tow, they promptly fed her about a coffee can and a half of sweet feed in her stall, and laughed off my horrified face as I tried to give them the baggies I had carefully prepped of the single-pound pellet meals she had been regularly eating at school. I never found out what happened to her, but if she survived that entire ordeal, I will be truly amazed.
The only picture I really have of her is this one, at her mare inspection. She was also the Champion foal at her foal inspection, and was the highest bonited foal in the country that year. A truly remarkable waste of a wonderful, talented mare.
And then there is Bay Girl, who had been unloved and unhandled for probably most of her life. Are we sensing a theme here? Horribly misunderstood animals who only needed a little bit of time and love to turn around, but were never given that chance?
I had a little War Horse talk with her yesterday, telling her that if there was any way to do it, I'd find her again and make sure she never knew the feeling of a rough hand again.
I can say that to her all I want. The reality is that it will probably never happen.