Last weekend I got the chance to see my old horse Fancy. I sold her a little over a year ago and really miss her. She was my baby. She was the first horse I started and I owned her for 5 years. She was a huge pain in my butt a lot of the time, but I still loved her to death.
She was 3 years old when I bought her and halter broke. Barely. That was pretty much it. She wasn't even registered. So I got her paperwork together and registered her as a half arab and a pinto. We did a lot of ground work, getting her to respect me and my space and learn some stuff before I ever got on her. Her mother had collicked and died when she was 5 weeks old so she was an orphan and had some issues with my personal space. As in it didn't exist.
When I took her to the vet a little later in life, they called her Cheeky. I wasn't ever exactly sure what that meant, but I was pretty sure it wasn't a good nick name. The tech also pointed out that she had two cowlicks on her forehead. Apparently that is not a good thing. Horses with two swirls on their forehead are usually nutty, according to what I can only assume is an old wive's tale. I guess it doesn't apply so much if the two swirls are vertical, but if they are horizontal (which Fancy's were just about perfectly horizontal) then look out! I have to admit that I put some weight in that old tale and made a point to check out the horse's forehead swirls when I was horse shopping. I know, I'm silly.
I have talked about Fancy a little bit in this post. I bought her with the intention of doing breed and circuit shows with her. Since she was able to be double registered I figured she was a great prospect for me. Her sire was a stunning buckskin pinto who was extremely versatile and she was definately his daughter. I purchased her from my old boss and I still remember the day she was born and seeing the pictures of her floating around the office. I also remember the day her mom died, I had to fill in for the boss's daughter who was supposed to work that day but was busy with her collicking mare.
I have so many great memories with Fancy. She was such a sweetheart, but a really big challenge also. She taught me so much. Not the least of which was patience and controlling my emotions when I was working with her. She was really good at pushing my buttons. Looking back and knowing how frustrating she could be and seeing how far I got her is very rewarding. She was a pro at the Arab Teleport (you blink, they spook and you're suddenly on the other side of the arena/trail/pasture, etc.)
I ended up doing pretty much everything but performance shows with her. I never did get her to even so much as a schooling show. We had hours and hours of trail time, camping trips, runs down the beach, jumping the waves in the ocean (she was scared of them), team penning, "roping" (as in I sorta learned to throw a rope off her and she would sorta tollerate it, but it was hardly actual roping), she was my first drill horse....we had a blast together! And she trusted me enough to do most of it without too much fuss. I won't pretend that we were good at much of it, but we got by and we had fun, which was all that really mattered.
She really loved drill. She was a very social horse, loved being around other horses, never kicked or bit and was just a dream for drill. Unfortunately, a couple months in she came up lame. I think she had been working on it for a while, but I had been ignoring it. After a lot of money went into lameness exams and chiropractor appointments we decided the only thing to do, short of hauling her to the other side of the state for more really expensive tests, was to lay her off for 6 months to a year and see what happened. The chiropractor was telling me her shoulders were really out, but she couldn't hold an adjustment without being worked. The vet was telling me that it was her suspensory tendons/ligaments and she needed time off to heal. I was stuck between a rock and a hard place. Since I had already put thousands of dollars into both the vet and the chiropractor and I really couldn't afford any more, I decided she'd get the time off. My wallet and mostly maxed out credit card decided that one for me.
To make a long story short, she came back sound as can be after 9 or 10 months, both her legs and her shoulders were fine. I had decided to buy another horse so she went up for sale as soon as I was sure she was sound. I was also willing to lease her to a good show home. I ended up leasing her to a fabulous family for their daughter's last year in 4-H. They were great together! Fancy took her to state and they ended up in a few championship classes. Fancy was a total natural at the rail/performance classes. I knew it was where she belonged, which is most of why I decided to sell her in the first place. She loved drill, but was naturally slow with a jog and lope to die for. Not the get-up-and-go, hard stopping and turning horse that I needed for drill. I got her back not long after the state fair was over and put her back up for sale.
That was when we found her current family. It's really funny how horses pick their owners. I had watched her with quite a few people each time she was up for sale. I could tell when she wasn't happy or didn't like someone. She definately picked the girl that leased her. They were a great match. The second time around we didn't get quite as many visits, but one of them was a lady who had come out previously and was really excited to see her come back on the market. She had really liked Fancy the first time around, but had decided to go with a pony for her daughter instead. It ended up being a really bad experience that she had just gotten done with and was looking for a horse again. She came out and rode Fancy and they really hit it off. She was looking for a horse of her own, but that she could share with her young daughter. She wanted something that would be gentle for her daughter to learn on and that she could grow up with and begin showing when she was old enough. I wasn't entirely sure how I felt about selling Fancy to a home with a young kid, but as soon as I saw Fancy with the kid I knew she would be just fine.
Fancy became a totally different horse with the kid around. She was gentle and patient and would lean down for her to brush her face. It was adorable. I still sent her off with fair warning, but Fancy was 9 or so by then and was finally growing up and turning into one of those pretty darn solid and kid safe Arabs. My shoer always used to tell me when I'd be venting my frustrations about Fancy that Arabs don't get their heads on straight until they are 8 or 9. Sure enough, Fancy grew up and turned into a totally different horse.
Seeing her last weekend was a little bitter sweet. I was thrilled to see that she was doing well and that she was moving to a gorgeous, well maintained barn with her own stall and lots of grassy turnout. I know they will all love it there. I realized that I do still really miss her and part of me regrets selling her. She was a great horse and I just imagine all the fun I could be having with her today if I had kept her.
Oh well, everything happens for a reason. I'm really glad I have Midori and I'm not sure I would if I hadn't decided to sell Fancy.