Thursday, February 14, 2013
A very special Valentine's Day
A special kind of Sugar is coming into our lives this Valentine's Day. Not the usual kind that causes tooth decay, or the rising of glucose levels, or even of the chocolate variety...
Although that kind of sugar is nice. This is the best Valentine's Day that I've ever been gifted with. Yep. Ever. :) I am feeling profoundly blessed today.
I'm feeling like God is smiling upon us today...
We are getting a new family member. Her name is Sugar. I know, I know. We don't need any more horses. Trust me, I've questioned my sanity more than once. I've wondered just what are we thinking by taking on another horse to care for, to feed, to provide for, to clean up after? More hay to buy, more vaccines to purchase. The list goes on and on and on. I know. Horses are expensive. Horses are a lot of work. We already have 5. And yes, there are only 2 of us. And we don't get to ride all that often...there's nothing that anyone could say that we haven't mulled over in our minds already.
But we have a spare stall. We have more than enough love to go around. And Sugar needs a new home. Her owners are moving across the country and are leaving next Wednesday. The house is sold, the belongings are already shipped, the horse trailer has been sold. Sheila has been trying and trying to sell her horses. She's tried giving her horses away. But she wants them to go to good homes. Homes where they'll be cared for and loved. Not used and abused, unfed and unloved, only to end up in rescues. She was at her wits' end when I received her tearful call. She was calling to speak to the doctor about euthanasia. But she was reaching out to try and get help. One last hopeful chance at relocating her beloved horses.
Yesterday, she called me again. She said that a friend of hers that was also a member of the riding club she belongs to would take the younger of the 2 horses. Sugar, the 18 year old registered Quarter horse who has been trained to work with cattle and has been used extensively for trail riding. But her friend wanted to pick Sugar up for a trial with her "trainer". I felt the familiar flutter in my stomach. That feeling of dread that often comes when the word trainer comes up. I've not got a lot of respect for so many of the people that call themselves "trainers". Sheila told me that her friend was hoping to find a back-up horse for her to use in cattle sorting, but that she wanted her trainer to ride her first and see if she passed muster. Those were her words, not mine. I wanted to caution Sheila, but felt it wasn't my place. I felt some disappointment because I had told Sheila that my husband and I would be willing to take her if she was unable to find another good home. My husband and I had prayerfully made the decision together. We decided to leave it up to God, and if He wanted Sugar to be with us, then He would make it happen. So, I accepted Sheila's decision and hoped that it was a good one.
Just before I was to leave the clinic last night, I received another tearful phone call from Sheila. She was heartbroken and said that her "friend" and the "trainer" had ridden Sugar so hard that they had lamed her. They said she was limping on her RF foot. They said that she would walk it off, but every time they did hard rollbacks to the right, she would limp afterwards. Sheila had cautioned her friend when she came to pick Sugar up for the trial ride that she was an 18 year old mare, who never needed spurring, or riding hard to sort cattle. She told her, just sit deep, leave your reins alone and let Sugar do her job. Be gentle and quiet with her and she'll take care of you. And remember, she's out of shape and hasn't been ridden since last summer, and that right front foot has been diagnosed with navicular, but she hasn't had any signs of lameness in several years now. She trusted that her friend would be respectful of both her, and her horse. She was apparently wrong about that.
Anyway, to make a fairly long story shorter. Sheila said that stepping out of the trailer, Sugar was covered in dried sweat, saddle marks and looked very tired. They had ridden her very hard, but she was showing no signs of lameness. She brushed her down, rubbed her with liniment and put her up for the night. She said that if we would be willing to take her, she would deliver her to us this weekend, write us a check for $500 to help cover her hay expenses, and give us everything she had that belonged to Sugar, including her medical records and x-rays from Oregon State University where the original diagnosis of navicular was made. I made a phone call to my husband, and he said, "tell her we'll take her". I love my husband's sweet, and so very generous heart!!! What more could I ask? He told me, "tomorrow I'll start getting her stall ready for her". :)
We just might be taking on a lame horse, not just an additional one. But, I work for an equine veterinarian who specializes in lameness. I might be able to get her help if she needs it, easier than someone else. I might have to put that money towards something other than hay for now. We'll see. But we're going to do the best we can by her.
And I thought of something else, maybe an additional blessing in this whole thing. Many of you may or may not realize that my confidence has taken quite a blow the last several years. My horsemanship and riding have suffered because of fears I've developed that I never used to have. My riding has been almost non-existent for the last 2 years, and I worry about never getting my confidence back.
Maybe, just maybe...Sugar will be the horse that I need to help me rebuild my confidence. Sheila says she knows that Sugar will take good care of me. If I can rebuild my confidence, that will carry over into my work with Eagle. Eagle is a horse with many fear/trust issues and needs a lot of work, but more than anything else, he needs a relaxed and confident rider to show him the leadership he so desires. I know that's the key to success with Eagle. He will be an amazing horse with a confident rider aboard. I know that.
God really does work in mysterious ways...and I'm just gonna roll with that. :)
Oh, and Tootsie, the other mare? Sheila called me last night and said she's delivering her to her new home this weekend too. Tootsie's being adopted by a loving grandmother, for her granddaughter, who's wanted a horse of her own forever. She's finally old enough to join 4-H and she's getting a horse of her very own. Only she doesn't yet know it. How cool is that? Sheila says Tootsie loves children and will be perfect for this little girl. Apparently Tootsie used to be the lead mare at Skamania Lodge in their trail riding program, and before that was a State Champion showmanship horse. God does indeed, work in mysterious ways.
Four days ago, Sheila was contemplating euthanasia for her 2 beloved horses. This weekend, they're both embarking on a brand new beginning in their lives...
All smiles and feeling blessed this Valentine's Day,
Lorie @ Cingspots