When one door closes...
One of our three boarder horses - Gracie - has been going through a bit of an upheval for the past few months. Our boarder purchased Gracie in June through the help of a trainer as the first horse for her daughter. It was actually through the trainer that the boarder came to board Gracie with us. Shes a beautiful 7 year old thoroughbred-like mare who was an experienced jumper for her previous child owner. She and her new owner were settling in nicely - Gracie had very nice manners, was very pretty, the works. The trainer was working Gracie and the daughter was getting all the more comfortable and confident on her. They had even ventured out to a couple of local shows this summer.
Then one day Gracie stumbled and went to her knees while the trainer was riding her. Not a common occurrence, but not unheard of either. But then she went down a second time throwing her young owner. Fortunately she wasn't seriously hurt, but this was certainly a concerning situation for all involved. Gracie was seen by a vet several times, put on pain killers and inflamation reducers to see if the pain in her feet could be resolved. Unfortunately it was not to be, the vet diagnosed her with Navicular, and recommended that she is not safe to be ridden - at least not at more than a walk.
This is a terrible diagnosis for a lovely 7 year old horse! Our boarder was very much torn over what to do. They had done everything right - had vet checks when they purchased her, and she had been jumping for some time with the seller's daughter. They weren't in a position to support a companion horse for the rest of her life, yet no one wants to put her down and she didn't feel comfortable selling her to another individual even with full disclosure.
Ginger and I spent a lot of time telling her about the Colorado Horse Rescue - where we both had volunteered on the adoption committee several years ago - and how many non rideable horses went through the program. There IS a market out there for companion horses, but it can be very hard to tap into. This is very much part of the purpose of CHR and other rescues - to connect people to the horses that maybe have special needs, but otherwise still have years of life in them.
CHR, unfortunately, was not in a position to take another companion at this time, but our boarder contacted some other non-profits and came across one that does a variety of therapeutic programs involving horses - some of which are done all from the ground. Their trainer came out to evaluate Gracie. They were very interested in such a young horse as most of theirs are in their 20s or 30s.
It just occurred to me that you might think that the title of this entry is referring to Gracie's family. As a point of fact I was being way more self centered and referring to the fact that the day we got word that the non-profit was going to accept Gracie was of course the day that we were out one of our 3 boarders. We were thrilled for Gracie and her owners since this has been such a difficult time for them, yet the boarding income becomes all the more critical during the winter when lessons aren't as prevalent.
It was amazing, therefore, that that very same day was also the day that a new person showed up at the ranch looking for a place to move her mare. She just confirmed with me today, and it looks like Dave will be on horse-pickup duty October 7th to get our new boarder!
As for Gracie's family, we do hope that some doors are opening for them too. The daughter has had a couple of lessons with Ginger on our horse Rio. They want to take things easy for awhile, not getting back into showing too quickly and just having fun with a horse. Well, that style suits our operation very very well and we would love to have them continue coming out.