Nearly three years ago, a bay Arabian mare stumbled off of Chronicle of the Horse Forums and in my life. A product of too much time on my hands and having sucker written all over me.
She was skinny and malnourished, despite not having a foal at her side for several months. She was skittish, nearly running everyone including me over in her new place. She was injured, with pickling salt in her wounds, and scars across her croup from god knows what. She was proud, opinionated, stubborn and smart.
She went by the name Wench when she stepped off on the clear, humid August morning during Pony Finals, but she became known as May to those who loved her.
I didn't know what I wanted to do with her. Originally, I wanted a young, somewhat broke mare that I could turn around, instead I had received May, career broodmare.
Her old owner thought she wasn't worth the time or effort to feed after she weaned, or, judging from the depth of the wire wounds, not worth even some antiseptic. When I talked to her, she made no qualms about why she didn't like the mare, and quickly made excuses as why there were why scars over her croup.
Truthfully, I was a bit crestfallen when she hopped off that trailer.
But the mood quickly subsided when she nosed my pockets for sweets.
On that August morning, my first order was to get her to a farrier, clean out the wounds and put antiseptic in them, get her up to date on vaccinations and put some feed in her. Since she didn't fit even my smallest halter (and had shipped in nylon), I went to KBC and purchased a basic leather that would fit her fine-boned features.
I turned her out with a mixed herd on grass, and she gained weight immediately. She was smart to handle and picked up on ground manners quickly enough.
At first, it was a tumultuous relationship between the two of us. If she didn't like what was going on, she would leave the scene. If she didn't like me, she would find a way not to be caught or touched. She lived in her halter 24-7 and was extremely trailer, needle, wormer phobic.
Eventually she moved to Deer Haven, where she became chief babysitter and blossomed into something awesome. The more I handled her, the more I showed her new things, the more she opened up. Eventually she shared all her fun scratchy spots (loves having her tail scratched and will back up to you), learned some tricks and, what was the highlight of time with her, loaded on the trailer. Needles and wormers are another matter.
The same year May arrived, I saw Savant, Sincere's sire, go at Young Horse Nationals. I thought he was a gelding with his fabulous temperament, until I saw his advert in a stallion service auction benefiting Holly Bergay. Eventually, I bid on, and won that breeding for May.
A year later, she was in foal and when the Preakness Stakes were a few hours into the books, a bouncing baby boy was in the world.
I made the decision to breed for a lot of reasons, which were discussed around here and other places, but I doubt I couldn't have had a nicer foal if it weren't for her.
But, after all was said and done, something was nagging me. After a lot of soul searching, I came to understand that May needed someone who can bring her further along and do her a greater service.
You see, my barn right now isn't a breeding and training operation, it's just a training operation. All my horses are in training in one form or another, with the idea that one day, they will go to upper level dressage. May is a great horse and deserves a great home that will take her to the next step, whether it be having another baby, starting and going under saddle or just being nifty out in a paddock with a bunch of babies.
I searched a long time. In my head, I could still do it all, but eventually, a literal forever home came that would offer her a chance to do something worthwhile. Most importantly, it's a home that offers security. After her ordeal, it's vital that she always remain safe, loved and taken care for. The minute that those obligations are not being met, she stays with me.
I wish I could say, she'll live out the rest of her life in my backyard, playing babysitter or surrogate to the various horses, but I can't. She'll be up north, living a good life under fantastic care.
So, a few weeks after Sincere bids his goodbye to his mom, she'll be loaded on a trailer and shipped out with two others from her herd.
I miss her already.