It’s My Life – Chapter 7

The realization that I was not able to afford to bring my horse to college was a hard pill to swallow. The college I was going to had a beautiful equestrian facility with 3 large barns, 2 indoor arenas, and an outdoor. Board was extremely expensive and I had a car payment, insurance, and my cell phone bill (remember Nokia?) that I was responsible for. There was just no way I could swing it. Keeping my horse at home meant paying full board and that wasn’t an option either. I had worked as much as possible during the summer but working for $6/hr wasn’t building my checking account enough to cover this increase in expenses.

I ran a newspaper ad listing my little red Morgan gelding for sale and accepted that for one door to open another had to close. I knew there would be horses at college to ride and just getting to go was a privilege in itself. I could do this.

A lady contacted me shortly after I placed my ad. She and her husband had owned a Morgan with similar bloodlines and would love to come to look at Chaz. My memory is blurred on the details, but I do remember the meeting resulted in them moving forward to purchase him. I had the guidance of the woman who had been my equine mentor to help me arrange the vet check and sale. They seemed like a kind couple and while I’m sure it was an awkward transaction knowing that they were buying a horse from a brokenhearted teenager, it appeared he was going to a good home. A far better outcome than him ending up at the New Holland auction.

The day arrived that I had to say goodbye. I was adamant that I wanted nothing to do with loading him on the trailer. I had been 100% involved in the entire sale process, but this was the part I knew I just couldn’t do. My plan was to say my goodbyes at the barn and let them lead him away. However, as usual with horses, nothing goes as planned and he would not load.

Through my tears, I took the lead rope and my horse followed me onto the trailer. I was absolutely heartbroken. I remember hugs and promises that they would take good care of him and that he would be loved. I had to trust that I had made the right decision but at 17 all I knew was that what I had dreamed of for so many years was now leaving on that trailer and heading to a new home.

As I sat in my lifeguard chair later that day, questions ran through my mind as tears ran down my face. Would his new owners make him as happy as I had? Would he be left in the field and not loved? Could he end up at an auction? These are the questions that many of us face if we have to sell a horse. And the answer to the last two questions could be yes. This is why some of us keep them forever.

Chaz’s new owners sent me a Christmas card later that year while I was in college. It described how well he was doing, his friendship with his new pasture mate, and was intended to reassure me he was living a great life. They also included a picture of him looking fat and happy. It was such a kind thing to do and helped me move forward knowing he was doing well. I wish I knew where that picture went!

Me with one of the foals at the barn in Maryland.

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