Saturday, November 5, 2011

...where to start....when to end.

I think that November has proved it impossible for me to enter the month, and have everything go as normal. Where do I start? I guess at the beginning, and since you read this blog I can skip that part. You know our story. I have been struggling with this decision for a long, long time.

This is the email that I sent out last night to some horse people that I really admire:

This is the hardest e-mail I think that I have ever written and I know that many tears will fall while I type the words.. I need to re-home my precious, love of my life, Denali. We have been through more in 3 years than I think most owners go through in a lifetime. She's my first horse, so perhaps I'm wrong, and this was a normal path for every horse owner. I love Denali more than anything, but finally realized that I am being totally unfair to her, and unfair to myself. A year ago we had an accident in the trailer which was 100% my fault. I scared her and she trampled me. I'm probably only here because my husband pulled me out. It has been almost a year, but I am still unable to do much more with her than lead her around and that has been a huge step for me. Physically I'm fine, emotionally I have deep scars, which grow deeper as time goes on. I try to work with her and do other things that will help me gain confidence. I have refused to admit that I am scared, but I can't lie to myself anymore. I have gotten to the point that I am able to handle most horses, and finally rode for the first time in 9 months a few weeks ago. With everything she still sends a terror deep into my soul, which in turn breaks my heart into a million pieces. I love this horse more than anything, but can't be around her without a bone crumpling fear. I know that she knows.


Denali is a 7 year old (foal date: 2/22/2004) Black Bay Thoroughbred mare (reg. name: Storm City Slew.) She is not the world's easiest horse, but does have the world's best personality. She loves a schedule, and likes to know what to expect. She does well with someone with confidence and intermediate to advance horse handling skills. She is NOT for a first time horse owner, I learned this the hard way. She gets excited if she has been in her stall overnight, or if something spooks her. Denali has not been ridden in 9 months, and before that it was 7 months. In April 2010 she tore her left hind suspensory. She isn't 100% sound but works out of her lameness enough that she could probably be used for light riding by an advanced rider. She does well under saddle, but does the spin and bolt out of nowhere which has unseated me more times than I can count. She has only ever bucked one time. That was in February 2011, after our accident when I tried to get on her again. I know that I am so nervous that I make her feel uneasy. She has never bucked with anyone other than me. I know that I scare her. :(

She also has some arthritis in her neck. It flairs up if she is in her stall for long periods of time. She does well (and LOVES) being outside 24/7. I purchased her from the Enumclaw Auction in July 2008. She had raced one time. To give you a taste of her personality, she tried to bite a horse near her during the race when the horse started to beat her. She had intermittent training for the first 6 months and pretty much just learned how to be a horse. After that I put her into dressage training, where she demonstrated true potential. Sadly in October 2009 she displayed some neurological signs that were first diagnosed as EPM. She was treated for EPM, but I found out later that she has arthritis, not EPM. After EPM was the suspensory.


She has been staying at NWESC under the amazing care of Dr. H since November 13, 2011 (also, the date of our accident.) I don't know what Denali is destined to be in this life. All I know is that she deserves a life, and not one that I can give her. I have worked two jobs (teaching and tutoring) to do the best for her that I could. To pay for the bodywork that would help her to be the best that she could be. To put her into training (2009-2010) to make her a proper horse. She has never wanted for anything. I love this horse, I will always love this horse. I know that if the day comes that she finds her "forever" person that a piece of my heart will load into that trailer and I will never be the same.

This e-mail was extremely difficult for me to write, but I know that the best way to find a horse a new amazing home is by asking amazing horse people. She will be going out on contract giving me the first right of refusal as well as site/reference checks. I saved her from slaughter and it is my nightmare that she will end up there again. If you know anyone who might be interested in my sweet mare please forward them my way. She has more supplies than most horses her age, and they will be going with her. (Blankets, wraps, etc.)

Thank you for taking the time to read this rambling mess. I feel numb and don't want judged. Please know that I have thought about this long and hard, but have been putting this off for a long time, but I love her and realize that she needs "her" person that can give her the attention only she deserves.

I was worried about some of them and how they would respond. I had to ask them though because they are very well respected. However, everyone was so nice, and very understanding and made me feel better and worse at the same time.  I wasn't going to share this with you, because I don't handle criticism well. I LOVE all of you, but there is the occasional ass. I can't deal with that one ass, especially when making choices I don't want to have to make. Plus, I figured that re-homing a broken down, TB mare that you don't want to be used as a baby making machine would take years.

It took less than 12 hours.

I got an e-mail this morning and then I spent over an hour on the phone with a woman who has 17 acres on the other side of the Cascade Mountain range. Higher up, dryer air, less rain. It is 2 hours from Seattle. Denali will have 4 thoroughbred siblings. One has very similar bloodlines to Denali (and from photos looks JUST like her.) I have been facebook friends with her for years, so she has followed our journey there. I don't know if she knows about this blog.

Best part? Currently, I will remain her owner and this woman will be the caretaker. I will pay $150 to help offset the cost for 6 months. In 6 months we will meet to decide what I want to do. I am allowed to visit her whenever I want. This will just be retirement board. More of a care lease with me kicking in some money. $150 is FAR LESS than the $1,000+ I've been paying for the past months...yes. $1,000+ each month.

I couldn't be happier, and I couldn't be sadder. Obviously I am not going to load my horse in a trailer and ship her off to a place I have never been to. Friday my husband and I are going to make the trip over the mountains to check out the ranch. I will spend the week making sure that she is who she says she is and isn't going to pull crazy out on me. If this is going to happen it will need to happen soon. I am going to schedule a shipper now, and cancel if the place turns out to be a hell hole.Winter has already set in up in the mountains, and the pass closes periodically. I don't want Denali in the trailer stuck for 12 hours. I've seen a ton of pictures, but you can take nice pictures of a shit hole.

I really hope this works out. I don't want to give up Denali. I really don't, but I think a break will be good for both of us. It will give me time (and money) to learn and grow as a horsewoman. Then when I have a clear mind I can make a decision. Cross your fingers that it works out the way it's suppose to work out.

.....okay....comment....but be nice.

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

You have done an AMAZING job with Denali that the majority would not have had the heart or committment to do.

Good luck, I hope the retirement board turns out to be all you hope for and you have the opportunity to get your confidence back!

Gurrl said...

I really don't know what to say. I'm not mad, I kind of understand your perspective, and why it is hard to be around her. At least you've find a possible good/affordable home for her, and she'll still be your horse. And once you build up confindence, you could always go back to her. I hope everything works out in the end. :)

Lisa said...

Wow, this is sad but hopeful at the same time. I think this is a good thing. You will be able to work on YOU and I think you will become the human she needs. :)

Barbara said...

Sometimes nice things just fall out of the sky. I really hope this works out, it sounds perfect for both of you.

Gabriella Elise said...

Oh my. I know it's hard to let her go, but the best part is, you're not really letting her go, right? You can still see her, and she's still yours.

I think you made the best decision that you could've made for both you and her. She'll be happy, and in the end you'll be happy. Remember that she'll always love you, because even though she knows you may be scared, she also knows you love her.

Best of wishes,
Gabriella.

Jess said...

I'm not sure if I've ever commented here, but I read your blog all of the time.

Wow! I'm so glad you have the courage to do this.. I can tell how much you love Denali, and this certainly can't be an easy thing for you to decide.

The situation with her going to the lady in the mountains sounds perfect. It gives you time to either gain your confidence back, and take Denali back.. or realize you are both better off without each other.

Kudos to you! Best of luck to both of you!

Mrs Mom said...

This was a tough decision, but one for the best for both of you. Fingers crossed it is an amazing place for ALL of you!! Knee mail continues for all y'all ;)

Karen said...

I just want to say *hugs*. It takes a really strong person to make a decision like this. To know and admit that she's not the kind of horse you need right now. I personally find it brave and admirable that you not only made this decision, but also making sure she has a great home.

eventer79 said...

Just hugs. I know how hard this is for you. Your best bonded friend...they are a piece of us no matter what happens. I am hoping so hard this works out as beautifully as it sounds.

Liz said...

You're a very strong person for making this decision; few people are as responsible and caring. Major kudos to you, and I wish you all the strength in the world as you continue with your horse adventures. Everything happens for a reason. =)

Amy said...

I sure hope you don't get negative comments about this. There is nothing wrong with this decision. Whether you sell her or whether this retirement place works out perfectly there is not one thing wrong with either of those. I understand you feeling bad/sad about having to see her go but there should be NO guilty feelings that you are doing something wrong. There is no reason for you to hang on to a horse out of feelings of obligation. And I am definitely against anyone owning a horse they are afraid of. That is dangerous for both of you. I am actually very glad you came to this decision. I have at times wondered why you were so intent on keeping her for life. Though I know you love her that is not the basis of why you should have a specific horse. Good luck and I hope this retirement place is as amazing as it sounds!!

Snowhawk Przhevalsky said...

I'm not quite sure what to say, other than I think we all hope for the best, for both you and Denali.

Annette said...

You have to do what is right for you and Denali. It's not about what other people think - who don't know you or your mare. It's a tough decision -- been there, done that, it is VERY difficult. My gut tells me this is a good plan. And in six months, you can decide on the next good plan. It is not fair to you or Denali to hold onto her if you aren't a good match. It doesn't mean you love her less. It means you love her more.

Ms Martyr said...

I have bookmarked an advice columnist called "Dear Sugar." http://therumpus.net/sections/blogs/dear-sugar/

Granted, her advice is geared toward human relationships but here are a couple of tidbits I thought could apply to you and Denali:

"You are not a terrible person for wanting to break up with someone you love. You don’t need a reason to leave. Wanting to leave is enough. Leaving doesn’t mean you’re incapable of real love or that you’ll never love anyone else again. It doesn’t mean you’re morally bankrupt or psychologically demented or a nymphomaniac. It means you wish to change the terms of one particular relationship. That’s all. Be brave enough to break your own heart."

"Most things will be okay eventually, but not everything will be. Sometimes you’ll put up a good fight and lose. Sometimes you’ll hold on really hard and realize there is no choice but to let go. Acceptance is a small, quiet room."

Sand. said...

Funny how things always work themselves out. : ) Keep us posted on the "sh*thole" : P

Ruffles said...

I hope this all works out for you and Denali.
I think it's a great decision but it must be so hard for you.

STB Eventer said...

I am proud of you for being so mature and wise in your decision. It does sound like a great situation and will open many new doors for you. I know it must hurt like h*ll, but you are a strong woman and can do this for your mare. Good luck and I hope it works out well!

Sonya said...

I have been lurking for a long time....I respect your decision and I know the fear you speak of. Give yourself and Denali a break! You have been and will remain to be a great horse mom. These descisions are never easy to make but I believe when you think of Denali's happiness as well as yours the right choice will be clear! In the meantime, give her cookies for goodness sake!

Ellie said...

Having also recently made several tough decisions (though nowhere near as emotional as yours, BY FAR)... I just wanted to send you a few words of support and encouragement. No one who has read your blog for more than oh, I dunno, a second, would ever doubt your love and devotion to Denali. You know what is best for her, and also for YOU. Follow your heart, and your gut instinct, and you can never go wrong. Best of luck, and keep us posted... <3

Sarah said...

I really hope this situation works out-it sounds pretty much ideal. I admire your guts in admitting what so many people can't, and yes, their horses suffer for it, and so do they. I wish you the best of luck-I hope, one day, to read about you finding your next heart horse who fills you with love and excitement rather than fear and dread. It's not your fault, it's not Denali's, it just is. Take care...hugs:) You have NOTHING to feel guilty about.

Anna said...

I wish you two nothing but the best. The choice you have made is the right one. Why? Because you are her owner, and her mommy. Mommy knows best, and if you feel she is better off with another person, then I am sure Denali will understand completely. Give her a hug for me.

Anonymous said...

I don't think it has ever been clearer just how much you love Denali. Thinking of you both and sending lots of positive energy for this next step!

CJ said...

I can't imagine what a hard decision this was! But I'm so happy that it seems you may have an outcome! And yes, she is a young TB with lameness issues when sound trained horses are nearly given away-but anyone that knows your story should be jumping at the chance to help after all you've been though. I know if you lived in Ohio I'd have you bring her over to our big pasture (if I had an extra stall.)
It sounds like the perfect solution! You can take the time to take some more lessons and get your bank account up again and go from there, and I'm sure Denali won't mind just being a horse for a little while longer.

I really hope it works out for you!

WishIHadAHorsey said...

Hugs. That is what I would like to give you. Even if this doesn't work out, you must follow your heart and it has been right so far in taking care of her. And you need to take care of yourself. So, hugs from me.

sarahskerik said...

I had a mare that was simply too much for me, and like Denali, needs a confident and experienced person. I found her a home with a 20 year old eventer and they're doing very well together. Then I found myseld a sweet gelding with lots of miles and have never been happier. Point is, there is no question in my mind that you're doing the right thing - and I really hope there's no question in yours, either! Hope the retirement situation works out. It sounds ideal!

Promise said...

I think it is incredible that you have found the courage to admit this to yourself and to want to do the right thing for your horse. I know it can't be easy, but if it feels right, then it is. I hope this place works out for you and Denali.

Drillrider said...

You know, I have thought this for a long time, but didn't know how to say it. When you have a bad experience with a horse it "Brands" your brain with negative feelings towards that horse. The first horse we bought was given away because, though we came a long, long way with him over a period of severals years, I was terrified of him and finally realized I didn't have anything to prove to the horse, to myself or to anyone else. I didn't want to ride him anymore and just walking him around left a knot in the pit of my stomach. Since that time, I bought a 15 year old horse more appropriate for my skill level and still own him (he is 30 this year). I was sad at first because it wasn't the horse's fault (and neither is it Denali's or your's), but it is what it is and you have to make the best decision for BOTH of you. I have bought and sold several other horse since then for varioius reasons (sometimes a horse just doesn't "fit" your personality). Who knows, maybe the break will change things? Use the time to ride horses that don't scare you and see what happens? The world is your oyster!

Judi said...

I am so happy that this is happening. This has been such a sad story for so long. I hope this woman turns out to be as good as she sounds.

I feel that when you do all the right things for the right reasons, though things look bleak at time, everything will work out fine in the end. Sometimes, it isn't the way you may expect, but things work out, somehow. Maybe that is what is happening, now.

We sure know you have done everything the best you can.

Fear is real, and we have to be realistic about it. Not only is it real, it is irrational. You are doing the right thing.

Slbaldwin said...

" I wasn't going to share this with you, because I don't handle criticism well"

Shame on anyone that critisizes you for this decision! It is the most unselfish decision a person can make! Deciding what is best for a very loved pet. I have been following your blog since February of this year and I can tell how much Denali means to you and how much you love her. I believe strongly she loves you just as much. For anyone to critisize you for this decision is wrong.

I am ecstatic to hear about this lady with the ranch! I really hope she pans out to be as amazing as she seems.

What ever decision you make, I know you will make the right one, don't put yourself down for this decision.

Love from
Horsez-R-Us

Kristen Eleni Shellenbarger said...

Well you KNOW I support you and I know how much you love that Mare. Anyone who doesn't get that..is dumb. You are her caretaker; you are making the best selfLESS choice for her and you. It's commendable. :)
I hope this pans out b/c it really sounds like the perfect plan!!

appydoesdressage said...

I know you are doing what is best for Denali and it is even better that you can retain ownership for a while in case things change for you. Good luck!

SprinklerBandit said...

This is an unbelievably hard choice to make, but for Denali, you pulled through. Best wishes for the new place and I hope all is well for the D mare from here on out. :-)

HammersArk said...

I just wanted to let you know that we all go through something like this. I'm going through something similar right now, and have found a perfect solution for myself and for my horse all wrapped up in one wonderful bundle.

I have a young TB mare who needs more training and I've found myself unable to get the confidence to get on her. I found a horse that is more trained but unsuitable for her current owner because of size differences. Her current owner is looking for a bigger project. It's a win-win - I get a pony I can see myself pampering and adoring, and my TB gets a job with someone who will not be afraid of her.

mustangcheyenne said...

Every day horses end up on craigslist, at auction, on trucks bound for slaughter for NO GOOD REASON other than some ass hat owner got tired of them. Those same horses end up in those same places because they're too short, or too tall, have improper training, maybe they're not fast enough, or they're too fast, or they just don't fit the right "build" to do the "job" they're "supposed" to do. CARELESS PEOPLE & DISPOSABLE HORSES. You are not careless, and you recognize Denali is not disposable. It takes a strong person to recognize and admit their weaknesses, and you are doing the best thing you know how to for both you and Denali. Real life and our fantasies are not the same. In a perfect world you would have the money to comfortably pour into Denali, without working two jobs or struggling for it. You would have a beautiful backyard to keep her in and plenty of grass for her to run around on and just be a horse for the remainder of her days. That's not real life. Real life is that you have a handful of a horse, a handful of a job(s), and about 3,462 other obligations separating separating you & that mareface of yours. We all know you love her more than anything, and that you won't just hand her off to anyone. I have no doubt that she would remain in your care until the day that she dies if you couldn't find the right person for her. I hope & pray this is everything you hope (we all hope) it will be. Sometimes horses just need time to stretch their legs and be horses. She & you both have been through a lot & it sounds like you both could use some time to heal independently. We all love you & Miss D & want what's best for the both of you & no one can make that decision but you.

achieve1dream said...

I'm so, so sorry it has come down to this. :( However I totally understand the fear issue. I've dealt with it too, although not nearly as traumatic as what you went through. This place sounds really nice and I do hope it works out for you both. A break may be what you need. If after six months is up you feel like you can part with her (I know it is so very hard) maybe it is for the best. It breaks my heart that you have to make this decision, but you have done so much more for this mare than most people do for anyone. You saved her and that's the most important part.

Since you are sending her things with her does that mean you are not considering eventually getting another horse? I don't want D to ruin you on all horses. There is another horse out there that is as special as her (well almost, no horse is as special as your first probably) that would be safer and easier for you to handle. I do hope you don't give up on horses altogether. And please, please, please keep us updated on D. I don't want to lose touch with the two of you. *hugs*

trainingbaron said...

I just came across this post and wanted to say I think you made an excellent decision. I hope no one gave you any flack for it. You saved Denali from slaughter and you've kept up your end of the bargain by making sure she's well cared for. Just because you're not riding her or seeing her every day doesn't mean she's not in a great situation. I wish all horse owners were as responsible as you!