Sunday, September 26, 2010

And Then There Was One

It's hard to believe that as recently as a year ago June, I had 5 horses to take care of.  That was too many horses for me to cope with, and I reached the difficult decisions to downsize both the number of horses I had and also how much work I was doing at our barn helping take care of others' horses.  Some of my thoughts at that time are contained in my post "Forever Horses".

So, last June, Lily and Norman moved to Paradigm Farms in Tennessee. This has turned out to be a good decision - they receive excellent care. Before they moved, poor Norman was stuck in a dry lot because our grass was too rich for him, and Lily couldn't be outside 24/7 for her heaves because of our severe winter weather and ice.

Then I lost my dear sweet Noble at the end of July - he was 30 and had lived a happy and healthy life but it was his time.  That was hard, but understandable, and although I mourned him, and continue to miss him, I had expected this to happen so it was sad but not a shock.

Now, early this morning, I had to watch my Maisie get on the trailer and head down to Tennessee to join Lily (in the same herd) and Norman at Paradigm Farms.  My older daughter is driving her in my rig.  I spent a good part of yesterday getting everything ready for their journey - hitching the trailer and taking it to have the pressure checked in all the truck and trailer tires (and the spare!), and loading up feed and hay for her transition and stowing all her supplies (sheet, blanket and supplements) and records (health, dental and travel papers).  Maisie has had soundness problems since the day I got her in 2002, and finally her issues were such that it was clear she would never be sound for riding again, although she could be comfortable in the pasture.  She is also prone to laminitis and our grass is too rich for her and the winters would be hard on her legs with all the slipping and sliding on the ice. I also believe that being outside 24/7 will help her tendency to impaction colic in the winter.  It was a very difficult decision to send her to Tennessee, but I know that Jason and Melissa will take as good care of her as I would have done.  But she leaves a big hole in my heart - she is my sweet snuff-a-whuff mare and her beauty would gladden my heart every time I saw her.  For some reason I found it harder to let her go - I had hoped to have many more years of riding companionship with her and that wasn't to be.

Now Dawn is one, with me.  We've made great progress on our journey together and have further to go, and I'm looking forward to that - although my younger daughter always reminds me that Dawn is her horse and that I'm only borrowing her!  Here's a picture of my "one" from this morning after Maisie left:




I'll be waiting this afternoon for the call that my daughter and Maisie have arrived safely in Tennessee, and then for photos of Maisie as she settles in.

26 comments:

  1. Kate - Reading this brought tears to my eyes, but I believe that you have done what's best for Maisie. I think that how we handle loss says a lot about who we are. You have done this with kindness and grace and love. I hope she has many happy years with her buddies and that you find your dream horse soon.

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  2. That's sad but on the flip side- just think of all the quality time you can give Dawn. And you know the others are being well taken care of.

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  3. Kate-

    I know that was super hard to do - bless your heart. Sometimes love means letting go...

    Wishing you luck on your horse search. I've been looking at your candidates but haven't commented as others have more conformation judging experience than I - however #7 has a precious face and kind eye :)

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  4. I give you a lot of credit for being able to do this. The farm in Tenn. could not be a more perfect spot if she can't be with you....a little heaven on earth for horses. I wonder if she will recognize your other horses.

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  5. What a sweet ONE, she its too.
    That is a~ rough on the heart ~decision Kate!
    You are fortunate to have P.F. so close. Maisie mare will appreciate your choice.What a great place that is.

    Hang in, hug on Dawn mare ~ some new horizons are ahead.
    XO
    KK

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  6. Kate, I have three friends (very close friends)--basically, my main riding partners--who downsized to one this year. They've all told me that, though it was difficult, they really feel more focused and committed to riding. I've been a bit envious since my energies are divided among so many. I know saying good-bye is hard, and wish you the best on your new horse-life and perfect "one" horse search.

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  7. Amazing how they touch our hearts so deeply. What a privilege it is to have their grace and beauty in our lives.

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  8. Good luck Maisie, I'm sure it's going to be a great retirement for you. Thinking of you Kate!

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  9. Kate:

    We've got everything ready for Maisie's arrival and we're awaiting your daughter's phone call this afternoon ! Both Melissa and I understand how hard it is to send a horse down here to us. Please be easy on yourself today. We'll do all we can to make your daughterh welcome and to make sure Maisie has an easy transition.

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  10. She's one lucky horse, Kate. In my life the saying is "no hay mal por quen no venga." Means that even in sad times, good comes from it. It'll be interesting to see what's next.

    Hugs from Texas.

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  11. Hugs to you Kate, I know you'll miss your girl but what a lucky mare to be on her way to Paradigm :)

    Hope she and your daughter have a safe run.

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  12. I'm sure it feels a bit empty but how great to focus all your attention now on Dawn who seems to be really enjoying and learning from it. FYI-just from your blog, I miss Noble too :(

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  13. I know you're sad about Maisie, but she'll have a lovely retirement at Paradigm.

    And now you get to pick Dawn's new friend, because as you have said, she's not your horse and no horse should be alone. I can't wait to see what you choose.

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  14. Aw, so sad, but still I'll echo everyone above and say what a good horse mom you are! It's truly unselfish to do what's best for each and every horse, and recognize that you're not always the best home for them. How great that she's still in the family though, and you can see her sweet face often!

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  15. Thinking of you Kate ......I look forward to seeing pictures of Masie in her new home. You and Dawn will have valuable time together then you have the excitement of finding your new friend

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  16. I can only imagine how hard it for you to retire Maisie, but I'm sure you're doing the best thing for her, so that has to give you some comfort... Thinking of you and I can't wait to see pictures!

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  17. It's not only a hard decision but when the day actually comes to say goodbye that's even harder. Hope she has a lovely time reuniting with her herd and has a healthy happy life there. Good luck in finding your perfect riding partner in your search for a new horse.

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  18. Maisie will always be in your heart and you have proven your love for her by letting her go. Tennessee sounds perfect for her. I know too well how much her unsoundness problems were upsetting you. Now you know she will be fine, well cared for, and happy with her old pals.

    Amazing how quickly you downsized, even if all of it did not happen as you intended.

    Dawn will thrive under your care and training until you can find that new "perfect" horse to fill the empty spot...spots???...in the barn. *G*

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  19. An extremely difficult decision, and a sad one. But, you are putting Maisie's needs before yours and this is the right decision for her health-wise. Plus she's going to hang around with some old friends. You are a good horse-mom, Kate.

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  20. Kate;

    I think Melissa sent through an email, but in case she didn't Maisie is resting comfortably in her stall and has eaten a considerable amount of hay, drank about 3 gallons of water and has pooped. All good signs in my book ! We'll keep our eye on her for another few hours yet, but all looks good in TN !

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  21. Thanks to everyone for your kind comments - I just spoke on the phone to my daughter and Jason and Maisie has arrived and is resting comfortably. My daughter says that she did get into a tussle with her hay bag early in the trip, while pawing when the trailer was parked at a rest area. She got her leg caught in the bag, but my daughter was able to extricate her and she seemed perfectly fine on arrival in Tennessee.

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  22. Hugs! She's in a fantastic place. And I hope you find your own horse soon - you and Dawn are great together, but you need one of your very own.

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  23. That must be hard, Kate, but I too think you made the right choice.

    In trying (just this week) to be sure both Bar and Lena got enough work, I find I feel I've failed both of them. (Though not too badly all said and done.)

    FYI, the clinic was AWESOME! Definitely want to consider actually taking Bar next time. :)

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