From the getgo with my mare Emma, it has been a wild ride. For a more detailed version of our background together since I bought her for $10 back in 2013, read here.
This mare had a weird way of getting the point of becoming mine. I got her from my trainer at the time, who had bought her in a spur of the moment cash sale that got complicated in the aftermath. From what I can gather of the many versions of the tale, a mother sold a daughter’s horse without the daughter’s knowledge, because she owed several months of board. When the daughter realized what happened, it was attempted to retrieve Emma from my trainer under the pretense that a lease was agreed to, not a sale. No matter which way you sliced it, the horse was under a lien for unpaid board, money exchanged hands and nothing was ever signed. Just an entirely sticky, emotionally charged situation all around.
And here I was, willing to inherit all this past drama and then tack on three years of my own heartbreak and letdowns with every step I took with this horse. Why do we love these animals again?
I knew that the daughter who lost her horse in all of this had expressed interest in buying Emma back in the past to my old trainer, which was declined because I already owned her. However now that Emma was broken elbowed and out of comission I assumed that interest had waned. I was fully committed to making my horse situation work to accomodate caring for Emma for the next decade or so. I am not one to put a healthy happy horse to sleep because of an occasional limp, nor am I one to try and rehome a crippled horse. I made boarding two horses work for a time, barely, and then today am able to house two horses (plus a mini pony) on my own little farm. Would I love the two horses to be rideable? Sure! But I also would love rainbows to be edible and have a money tree sprouting in my backyard.
Picking up from where I left off in “Emma the Enigma”, after putting a few thousand into breeding Emma in the spring she took and then absorbed (aka, lost the pregnancy). I learned this while in the hospital, forgot to notify the stud farm, and lost my breeding contract to rebreed her next season. That is, even if I wanted to go through all of that again (it was heartbreaking!). I entertained the idea of signing a new breeding contract for 2017, crunched the numbers, and it isn’t doable with Sully in training and a human baby on the way (oh yea, that!).
This didn’t end my hope to find Emma a job. I thought there were two avenues: (1) after a year and a half of rest, she could be lightly ridden, either by myself or when friends or husband felt like “riding” a horse or (2) her last misdiagnosed pregnancy was an omen for this one, and there was still a horse baby coming our way this spring.
Well, those two were big nopes. I had the vet out last week to xray her elbow and we discovered not only did it certainly not heal, it never would heal or be stable with muscle strength, because with every forward step her olecranon fracture would open and close. Maybe she could be walked under saddle. Maybe. Also, the estrogen assay came back with a very strong negative on the pregnancy.
Was I hoping, stupidly, after all I have been through with Emma, to have one little miracle? Yes. And hormones don’t help. I was, and am, shattered all over again. It’s like with every letdown I come back to that day when she got kicked. Back to the moment the vet declared “oh no, she broke it,” and all I could do was sob into her forelock.
So armed with this knowledge that I will have an unrideable horse who has put me into the hospital and has a good decade or more left in her, and the recent contact I recieved from her old owner still interested in buying her back, how can I not consider it? I have someone who loves her, had an 11 year relationship with her, wanting her back, while I sit here in angst wanting a rideable horse.
It should be easy, but it never is. There has been so much drama surrounding this mare, my old trainer is one of my good friends, and here I am caught in the middle feeling like a guilty party for wanting to take an easy way out. And really, why shouldn’t I? Just because there is history between two people who are not me? Do I continue to feed, shelter, shoe, medicate, and maintain an unrideable horse for the next ten years – placing limits on my own goals and possible career in and out of the saddle – because someone else might not like my decision?
I don’t have an answer yet, but it seems kind of obvious when I type it out in black and white. There is a strong urge to admit that it is time to let it all go; all the disappointments, all the drama (that isn’t even mine), all the ups and downs… time to look at this opportunity to rehome Emma as bittersweet but an opportunity to start over with a new partner and enjoy the ride again. Golly, wouldn’t that be nice.