Wednesday, June 19, 2013

An Adjustment To The Herd

So I'm back down to two horses.  Two speckled freckled horses.  

No more beautiful shiny red horse.  

On Saturday afternoon, Oakie left with her new owner, who is also one of her first owners, and they will have a great life together.  I feel relieved now.  I miss Oakie, there's definitely a blank space where her presence used to be, but I know this is right.  We are adjusting.  It's been four days and the trauma has subsided.

Phoenix spent all of Saturday afternoon frantically running around the corral, whinnying like I've never heard him before, calling her.  He looked over the gate where the trailer left.  He stalked the fence line looking for her.  Back and forth, into the pasture, into the corral. He'd stop at the spot where Oakie's hooves left our dirt and went into the trailer, sniff the ground, and let out a heartbreaking whinny.  

By night time, he was down to searching only once every hour or so.  Selina said she still heard him during the night, through her open bedroom window.  

The funny thing is, and I predicted this, Copper isn't traumatized.  

She whinnied a little at first, but it seemed more like, "it's time to make noise because our friend left, but really I'm just doing this because he is so I guess I'm supposed to."  

Then she headed out to graze, lifting her head occasionally to watch Phoenix in his distraught state.  

Call me crazy, but I am convinced she looked a little smug.

She's the only girl again.  

No more pecking - order battles.  No more competition, no more girly hissy fits.  The mares didn't hate each other, but they didn't particularly like each other.  So really this arrangement works out quite well for Copper.  

On Saturday night, the kids saw Copper get down in roll where the horse trailer had been.  (Take that, Frenemy.)  

It's been four days, and other than being more attached to Copper than usual, Phoenix is okay again.  Copper is like she's always been, only less on guard. 

We're adjusting.

On Friday, Selina and I took Oakie for one last ride through the pasture.  

We admired her.  We soaked up her glossy shiny red coat, her elegant neck and beautiful face, her nice Quarter Horse hip, those dapples that shine in the sun, and we just know she's going to be the prettiest horse on the trail, with her pretty young owner.

Then we stood beside her with the reins clutched in my fist and had a little cry.  

And then I was okay.  

Because it's right.

It's a pretty darn good feeling, y'know, that you've done the right thing.  


Cindy D. said...

It is a good feeling, even when a four legged family member has moved on, to know that you sent them to a good place. Isn't it funny how differently the ones left behind react?

Heidi the Hick said...

Maybe it's because Copper has said goodbye before. First Champ died, then Susie kept her company for a year before I got Phoenix, and then Susie left. But Phoenix was with the same little herd for most of his first seven years - and he's the one that left. I don't know, does that affect horses, do they react more strongly if they've never seen another horse leave before?

Anyways... It's working out fine. I am convinced little miss Copper seems more content the last couple days.

And I just heard from Emma this morning - they are doing great! Yay!

Susan Barclay said...

I feel for Phoenix, but reading your previous post about releasing Oakie, agree that you've made the right decision. And how wonderful that a previous rider will get to enjoy her again. I am sure Oakie will be happy and Phoenix seems to be adjusting, though it takes time.

I found your blog through Kimber's Liebster nomination, and look forward to reading more of your posts.

Heidi Willis said...

It's funny how they adjust, isn't it?

It's hard to let a critter you love go, but what a great feeling to know she's where she belongs. Better for all of you in the long run.

mugwump said...

Very adult decision. There. I said it.