Sue + Spring
Breed Quarter Horse
I discovered I cannot handle a 17 hands thoroughbred gelding. As much as I loved and respected him and his race record, I simply could not provide the necessary discipline and structure that he needed upon his retirement. Despite his senior age, he was still high-spirited and occasionally naughty. He was a challenge to my gentle and laid-back demeanor, which did not mesh with his fiery attitude. So my much-loved thoroughbred was returned to his original home. I’m sure they know how to handle that Little Devil that occasionally presents itself.
Having admitted my shortcoming, I knew I could not rescue another thoroughbred as a companion for my Appaloosa x Arabian 30 year+ mare. After healing the hole in my heart that occurred when he left, I began a search for another horse. All I was sure about was that I could not handle another thoroughbred challenge.
After perusing the Craigslist “free horse” ads, I found an ad for a potential companion gelding. He was a pureblood Arabian, only 14 – 3 hands and a buckskin. My sister and I drove to a town about an hour away to visit with him. The woman who currently owned him said she and her friend had rescued him from a neglect situation. She was now moving two hours away, to smaller acreage, and simply could not take him. She claimed he was 30+ years old, but he certainly didn’t look his age, nor did he act over 20. He was full of vim and vigor. She also told me he was food aggressive, which had caused some problems with my thoroughbred.
After visiting with him for at least 45 minutes, I told the woman that I would be in touch with her. During the ride home, my sister and I discussed him at length. She told me that she felt the food aggression would be a problem in that my 30-year-old mare might stand her ground when it came to food. Even though I wanted to help this woman, I reluctantly concluded that I could not. I called, thanked her for her candor in admitting his food aggression, and told her that I could not take him. I truly hope he did find an honorable home.
My search continued. The next Craigslist ad for a free horse was a 26-year-old quarter horse mare. I called this woman and set an appointment to drive over to see her. After my car overheated on the way to see her, I finally got to my destination. The woman had “Rita” on a halter and lead; the mare was peacefully grazing when I approached her. The woman said she had purchased the mare, who she decided to call Rita after drinking margaritas, at the local auction last October. She and her partner had originally planned to breed Rita, but apparently had a falling out and decided not to pursue that plan. Thus, Rita needed a home.
I spent about 30 minutes with her, picked up her feet, played with her mane and tail. The mare was in excellent weight, although she seemed nearly starved for green grass. Rita was mellow and acted very much the lady. I told the woman I would be in touch.
Although my heart was still healing from my thoroughbred, my head told me my Appy cross needed a friend. I called the woman back and asked her if she could deliver Rita. She said she would contact some friends and they would bring her.
Rita arrived without much fanfare. I showed the humans the property, and Rita was introduced over the fence to my Appy cross. Both girls seemed to accept the other with no problem. After only 12 hours (including one night) of visiting over the horse fencing, I decided the mares seemed accepting and put them together. It was like they had known each other for years and years. The Appy liked her new grazing buddy.
The name “Rita” simply did not fit her or feel authentic to me. After checking her American quarter horse registration papers, I decided to call her “Spring.” The first time I called “Spring,” she immediately perked up her ears and told me, “Yep, that’s my name….how did you know?” Scratching her ears, I smiled and felt a real one-on-one connectedness with her. According to her paperwork, Spring had seven registered foals. She also was a junior barrel-racing champion in her younger days.
It is absolutely necessary for each and every one of us to take that first step, to learn that each of us has the power of one within us, to improve some small part of this world. A life is important whether it’s a human life, a horse life, a dog life. We are all interrelated in this journey of life. Disney calls it the “Circle of Life,” the web intertwined between all living beings.
Each of us must take one small step toward improving this world, however we so choose to do it. Show empathy for those around you. Keep positive, bring joy, spark change, no matter how small. Keep moving toward your passionate goal; the journey counts, too. Do not settle for good enough; search for an ideal that invigorates and motivates you.
I have found my way. I hope you find yours.