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.