Turns out she is, rather busy after all. She works from her appointment book and had penciled me in to call the first week of May. Go figure - I've never been, nor will I ever hope to be, that organized. It's not my style. Anyway, when she got my (rather whiny and desperate sounding) second message on her phone, she felt it necessary that we touch base earlier. I am so thankful she did. I feel soooo much better after having talked with her. My gut tells me she's the right person, and I think she'll be a good match for Eagle.
I trust my friend Terry, and she trusts Rachel, so I feel pretty confident. I've only met her in person once before, it was either last summer or possibly the summer before, when Terry had one of her horses in training with Rachel. We watched her work with the horse, and talked with her a while. She seems very direct, up front and honest. She has lots and lots of experience with Mustangs in particular, and last year took 2nd place in the Southern Cali Mustang Challenge and 3rd in the Nampa, Idaho Mustang Challenge. There's a lot of competitors at those things, so the gal must be pretty competent. Right now, she's working with this year's 2 competition horses. The first one's coming up in May and she'll go to Idaho in July...me and Eags will be in between those 2 competitions.
She's coming out to meet Eagle this coming Monday. We had a good, long conversation about expectations, techniques, desires, hopes and finances. I think this will work. I'm really excited for Eagle especially, and for us as a team too. This may turn out to be the best shot for Eagle's long-term future. He is coming 15 this year, and this horse has a lot of life experiences and water under his bridge that we're completely unaware of...so, going in with our eyes wide open, we'll do our best and see what happens.
This is very much outside my comfort zone. I rarely send my horse out to someone and trust them to work with them, at will without me being present. I'm putting a lot of faith into Rachel to treat my horse with respect and fairness. I have to trust that she will respect my wishes as well, and overall and above everything/anything else, always keep Eagle's feelings about what he's doing or being asked to do, a priority over progress. My number one priority is that he always feels good on the inside, about whatever it is that's being asked of him. At the very core of good horsemanship, for me, is that it's always more important how we do something, rather than what we do with our horses.
I believe that Eagle will blossom and surprise us all...he's already come so far from where he was when I got him. He's kind, intelligent, sensitive and just a good horse. His trust in me has grown exponentially and that's invaluable to me. I feel honored to have his trust. Some of you may think I'm exaggerating, but this horse was a basket case when I got him. There were many times I questioned my judgement about keeping him because given his lack of trust, no confidence at all, a genuine fear of people, and his rather large size, he could have seriously hurt me or anyone else who didn't always remember to tread carefully around him. He is not that horse anymore. I now trust him and that's a beautiful thing.
I've always believed there's a reason I have this horse. If you remember, I pretty much fell in love with him from a picture on the internet. Seriously. There was just something in his gaze, that expression that went straight to my heart. I have never had anything like that happen before, with a horse or anything else. So for about a year, I watched him and kept track of him on the rescue's site...nobody took him, but according to Kate, everybody who saw him loved him, thought him beautiful. But still he stayed. Lots of the other horses were adopted, but not this horse. I finally made the call, and asked Kate to bring Eagle to the Mustang event that summer in Central Oregon (half a state away from us). She agreed. What my thoughts were, was that I could finally meet this horse in person. See for myself that there was nothing special about this horse in a plain bay package. Then I could finally forget about him and move on. I already had 6 horses and certainly didn't need another one - especially one who was aged and had a sketchy past. Nope, hadn't even been looking for a horse when I happened upon that site...
but that's not what happened. Far from it! When I first laid eyes on that horse, amidst a sea of bay horses all over the place, I recognized him instantly. My heart caught in my throat - and then he turned his head and looked directly at me - I will never forget that moment. I can't really even describe it, but my heart just flipped, my eyes filled with tears and I had such an overwhelmingly emotional response to that gaze that I was a goner. I just had to have this horse!!! I still can't explain it. But I accept it. He is meant to be my horse. And if I never, ever get to ride him and feel his strength beneath my body, well then, that's alright too. I'll still have him, and I'll still spend time with him every single day. We have a wonderful relationship and I feel blessed that he is mine.
*sigh* I do admit though, I have daydreams of sharing rides in the mountains and going on grand adventures with Eagle. In my dreams, we're the perfect team.
And so we move forward with hope and trust...for more.
I still have a month to wait, but this coming Monday I'll watch with keen eyes, just how Rachel interacts with my boy. I'll know if it's a good match, and I'll know in my gut if she'll treat my horse with love and respect.
You probably think I'm a silly romantic. It's just a horse. Lady must be crazy...
Then again, maybe not.
I'm pretty excited. Can you tell? :)