then you found me

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How have you come about having the horses, or even pets that you have now? Were they the result of a military-level-serious search and find mission, was it random happenstance? Did you start with good intentions, and find yourself with something else entirely? My horses, and my Beagle, all found me. Maybe they had a little help from the universe, but the ends more than justified the means, so I’m happy regardless…

In a clinic given by a well-known trainer once, he explained that all choices we make, are based on one of four elements. Education, experience, emotion, or exhaustion. He gave truck shopping as an example. You can do your research, you can talk to dealers, owners, repairmen, and buy the best truck on paper. You can buy a Ford, because you’ve always had Fords, and you’ve never had a reason to change. You can drive past a dealership and see it, it draws you in, you have to have it. Or, after shopping and mulling, you can finally buy the next truck you lay eyes on, simply because you’re sick of looking.

It sounds good in theory, but I have to wonder, do these rules apply to me? I guess ultimately, I made my choices-in the horses and dog, based on emotion, though I think the other elements played their part as well.

In my last entry, you learned about Reya, my raffle score and first horse. When I left the house that morning, I certainly had no idea I’d come home a horse-owner. I’m reasonably sure it didn’t cross my parents minds! Yet fate stepped in, I think, and helped Reya find me. She provided the blueprint for my equine education, by not being exactly what I would have chosen, given the choice. Had I been “in the market,” and found a show-ready horse, I can’t imagine I’d have learned half of what she taught me.

Buddy came to me after our initial search for a new horse had gone dormant for the winter. We’d searched for months, traveling all over the state looking for the next one. Nothing seemed like a good fit, so as fall slowly turned to winter, we decided to wait it out, and try again in the spring. Not long after, I got a phone call. I was greeted by the voice of my blacksmith’s daughter, a woman dad worked with, and told of a tricky situation she’d found herself in. She found “the perfect horse,” around the same time she and her husband had found “the perfect house.” Guess who won? Turns out it was me, but it took time to realize. She was kind enough to offer a trial period, and we arranged to drive to their home and pick him up. The Buddy I met in the field was filthy, and hairy, clearly enjoying his “outdoor lifestyle.” We took him home to the barn where we boarded, and our relationship slowly developed. After the trial ended, we made arrangements to make Buddy a permanent family member, and eventually sold Reya to a younger girl who was just making her start, in the hopes that Reya would give her the good foundation she’d given me. Buddy and I eventually became familiar faces in all levels of show circuits, and the crush developed into full on love.

That was 1994, and by the time I said goodbye to him in the fall of 2009, I was certain that I’d never in my life, find another soul who loved me the way he did. I’d given up, my heart was broken. When we laid him to rest, on top of the hill behind the barn, in the company of other friends who’d gone before, I sent my heart down with the ship. Friends all shared in my grief, some offered their own horses to fill the gap, others offered to give me a new one, but the idea felt completely wrong. It was time to walk away for a while.

By December, the gaping hole in my heart was no closer to healing, and I knew I needed SOMETHING, but had no idea what. I knew it couldn’t be another horse, but beyond that, I was still lost. Sami found me through what else, social media. Her photo popped up on Facebook, in a post by a friend, looking to help a family member place the puppy that it turned out they couldn’t keep. Sami originally was meant to belong to two girls, who turned out to have dog allergies, then caught the H1N1 flu that went around, which only aggravated their allergies more, and eventually their parents decided that maybe a puppy wasn’t in the plans for them. They wanted to place her carefully, and enlisted the help of family and friends to draft potential candidates. Luckily, I made the short list.

I contacted the friend, told her I could probably help her family out with the puppy problem, and made arrangements to meet them. Conveniently, I didn’t mention this to my folks, where I was staying at the time… We met, I fell in love, collected Sami and all her things, and headed for home in early January of 2010. I met mom and dad in the entry way with her, promising it was only a trial (famous last words!) and all they had to do was say no, I’d turn around and take her back. Have you ever looked into the eyes of a Beagle and been able to say no? My plan worked! I like to think of Sami as a rescue, as in, she rescued me, from myself. Having a warm, furry soul in my life again, helped me heal, and remember how to love again.

I still miss Buddy every day, it’s an ache that will never completely disappear. Since then, I’ve begun to heal more, and find myself feeling “ready” for the next chapter in my horse career. Evidently it isn’t exactly the right time, at least, according to my bank balance, but soon…

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