Tuesday, June 04, 2013
Letting go of Oakie
I have decided to let Oakie go to someone else. It hasn't been a light decision; months of soul searching went into it. I believe this is the best for all of us and there is a strong possibility of a very happy ending.
Oakie arrived here at the end of 2010, and I have valued her so much over the last few years. Just spending a few extra minutes looking at that beautiful red mare has made me happy.
But I knew when I got her that she isn't what we call "Kid-friendly." She has never done anything dangerous with a child rider, but she always looks nervous and irritated. Additionally, being ridden in my corral seems to make her tense. She does the job because she's obedient. But I could tell it was bothering her.
This has taught me a valuable lesson:
Just because a horse is small, gentle, quiet, obedient, well-trained and bombproof, does not mean she will automatically be suitable for lessons.
There's an essential quality a lesson horse needs, and it's hard to define. She has to be tolerant of different people on her every day. Some horses just aren't okay with that. We're all different and all good at different things.
I really wanted to keep her but realized it's not fair to anybody involved. Business-wise, it's not smart for me to keep three horses when I'm only using two regularly for lessons. I can't really afford to keep one horse only for myself and my daughter. But if I think about it beyond money, and consider the well-being of the horse, I have to do what's right for her. If she's not happy here, it's not fair to her to keep going like this.
She's not suffering; she's well cared for and reasonably content. But she's not working, and an athletic horse like her gets very bored watching the others work. Most of all, she's a wonderful horse and deserves to have a good life doing something that suits her.
What really proved it to me has been changing my approach with her. I haven't been riding her in the corral anymore. Out in the pasture field she's been relaxed and well-behaved. She made it very clear to me that she does not want to do lessons. She wants to be the prettiest horse on the trail.
So here comes the good news: my friend Susan, from whom I got the horse, had tracked down one of Oakie's former owners, a young woman who no longer wishes to compete like they did in the old days, but just wants to have leisurely trail rides on a horse who'd be happy to do that.
Just imagine - here's a girl who's going to get her horse back years later!!
So she won't be mine, and we'll miss her, but I feel so good about how it'll all work out in the end.