On Tuesday, I agonized over whether or not to return Emma to an old owner who desperately wants her back.
Not only did I agonize over it in writing, I agonized over it to horse friends, I agonized over it to my old trainer (and Emma’s immediately previous owner), I agonized over it through pregnancy fueled tears to my husband… well, you get the picture. It was a cold misty day I like to refer to as “dementor weather” and I still spent an hour standing out in the muck just staring at this mare who I love, but need to let go of.
I decided it was obvious what I should do and I needed to just get it over with. For once, I did the thing that was logical when it came to horses (what!? yes.) and made the decision to rehome Emma and move on. Once made, of course tears flowed (I’m pregnant, damnit) but it was a mixture of release, relief, and finality. This opportunity for Emma to live out her life happily but no longer having myself carry the burden of her care was something I never entertained would happen (I mean, c’mon, how many people are going to bang your door down to buy your broken 20 year old horse, it doesn’t happen), so when it came to the point of that offer being on the table, it is almost too easy you feel guilty for taking it.
I knew it would be an emotionally charged decision that some people would not appreciate. If you’ve been in the horse industry long enough, you know that everyone has something bad to say about everyone else. Emma’s owner may have rubbed some people the wrong way. When I hear someone try and tell me that someone told them that she once waited 9 weeks to get their horses feet done 7 years ago (as I count on my fingers the 8 weeks she just went between trimmings, I guess I am now neglecting her too even though her feet no longer grow?), or that her horses are underweight, and I am sending off Emma to be neglected, I have to just roll my eyes. There are two sides to every pancake and really, I am not interested in any side but the one I am eating. I have seen her horses, they are fat and happy. I have met her, and have seen how Emma reacts to her with affection, and have seen the tears in her eyes at their reunion. I also have two vets and a farrier giving positive references. I did my research. I just love how people have so much to say, but are they going to take on my special needs retiree and give her 4 star care? Of course not!
As they say, “you can’t please everyone, and nor should seek to, because you won’t please anyone, including yourself.”
So I turned my back on the gum flappers and made a decision based on my own instincts and what was best for all of US… you know, the people actually paying this mare’s bills and not random trainers who don’t know me from adam and can’t seem to keep other people’s names out of their mouth. I made her old owner’s Christmas miracle come true when I contacted her Wednesday morning to see if she was still interested. Of course she was, and she had just sold two of her sales horses so Emma would have a stall, and now the leather halter she had gotten with an engraved plate for Emma’s Christmas gift will be hung in her barn instead of mine. This made me feel sad, but good. She had gotten Emma as a Christmas gift 14 years ago to the day, when she was 12. Now today she received that gift all over again after unexpectedly and abruptly parting with Emma five years ago.
When telling my mom about this somewhat spur of the moment decision, she was surprised and asked what changed my mind when earlier this month I wasn’t even considering giving Emma up. I described the logic of the whole scenario, I can only house two horses on my dime and at my house, so now down the road next year when I come across that perfect confidence booster horse that I am needing to bring me back into gear after pregnancy and injury, I won’t have to pass it up.
I also said, “I just don’t think Emma was ever meant to be owned by anyone else but her.”
I think that is very true. My trainer had zero luck with her, I had bad luck on top of bad luck with her, and although my life would be entirely different if our paths had not crossed, Emma was not meant to be ours. She was meant to escort that little 12 year old girl through life and back there she will go.