More than two years ago, I met a young Hanoverian gelding named Reggie. He was a handful, to say the least. He had no manners and was as green as they come under saddle. But I fell in love, and time after time, Reggie found a way to wriggle his way back into my life.
But this time, after placing him in a home with a budding teenage hunter/jumper rider, under the watchful eye of my childhood hunter/jumper trainer, I knew he wouldn’t find his was back to me so quickly. Reggie had spent a year with me, training and showing. He spent several months in the sheriff’s office’s mounted patrol program, where he eventually flunked out of the program. Before that, his breeder tried to sell him at the barn he was born at in South Florida and where I worked, exercising him and other young horses.
I did everything I could for him, always placing him in a new home that I hoped would be the permanent fit. Well, this time, I think I found it.
I always go through a bit of a mourning period, having reopened old wounds when I get to spend time with this horse again, only to give him away to somebody else. This last time was no different.
But not long after Reggie pulled away from the sheriff’s office, a new opportunity presented itself. Reggie’s breeder had another horse she needed to re-home, a 14-year-old mare that had produced two lovely foals, and spent the majority of her teens working as a dressage horse. Belinda, an imported hanoverian mare, needed to get out of the muggy heat and moisture of South Florida and find a cooler, drier home upstate to help with her allergies and mild case of anhidrosis.
I knew Belinda from my days riding at this breeder’s farm. She was a big mare, but as sweet as they come. Outside of her skin issues, she was a relatively easy keeper.
I had turned down the opportunity to keep Reggie for myself more than once, knowing I didn’t have the funds or the tools to continue the training he needed. But Belinda was a different situation. She could teach me, furthering my education in dressage. She was capable of getting around a low level hunter course. There was no pressure to show or train. We could find a nice place to board and just enjoy each others’ company.
As I mulled over the idea of buying this horse, I daydreamed of all the fun things I could do with her. I thought about trail riding and body clipping, buying embroidered saddle pads and a halter with her name on it. I had dreamed of owning a horse again for years.
I worried about my career – which keeps me in the office for many hours through the weeks. I travel, too, for my job. But my bosses were more than supportive, and offered to be flexible with my schedule to make this work.
So I said yes. Belinda has been here a month and I couldn’t be happier. She’s easily transitioned to her new farm, roaming over five acres with her new friend, Levi, a thoroughbred gelding. We ride a few times a week, I’m slowly bringing her back into work. We trail ride down the street and through hundreds of acres next to the barn. We’re at a “no frills” kind of barn, which is all that I could afford, but Belinda is well cared for and loved already.
I’m convinced that some doors shut so others can open. Even though I miss Reggie everyday, Belinda is a much better fit for me for where I am in my life at the moment. I am so appreciative of this opportunity. It’s humbling. Everything has fallen into its right place.
Video: Belinda working with a trainer in 2011 before coming to my farm