After I watched Hubby relate (really well) to his mare, Rose, while we were in Wyoming this summer… I knew Bodhi was never going to be the ‘it’ horse for him.
So, I had a heart to heart with Hubby. He told me that he loved Bodhi, but that he really would rather have a horse with more ‘go’. And, honestly, he said, he had no time for a horse as it was… without us living together, all he felt he did in life was work and drive. He felt he is pulled in too many directions and really had no business owning a horse. Especially one like Bodhi who yearned for attention.
He confirmed what I already knew.
My heart became heavy. To make Bodhi happy, I had to find a new love for him. Someone who would spend time fussing over him, take him out on rides all the time and set him up with horsey buddies during the off time.
Ouch my heart.
SO DIFFICULT TO LET GO.
I found Bodhi when he was only a year and a half old. He grew up here. I’ve watched him develop, I know all of his quirks, I adore his sense of humor, and I spent months treating his horrible gash – twice a day – until it was healed. Bodhi actually let me rinse out his wound with cold hose water and then slather on ointment without a halter. He just knew it had to be done, so he let me.
He is that kind of a horse…
If he was smaller, I probably would have kept him for myself as my Steady Eddie riding gelding. But, I couldn’t reach him if I stepped off on the trail. And, his width was uncomfortable for my smallish frame.
He wasn’t meant for me.
Ouch. That thought hurt.
I put out a feeler to the woman who runs the local trail riding association email blasts. I asked her if she thought I could find Bodhi a new love through our group.
She told me that the group is amazing and I’d be able to check out any potential humans because I could ask the local vets and farriers (of course a great benefit)… also, she said that all the members seem to be financially sound. No one used the stash of hay they had in reserve for emergencies. Everyone pays their dues. And, lastly, she knew everyone on the list, personally. She told me that she would look out for me and make sure Bodhi landed in good hands.
So, that’s what I did. I wrote an ad, “The Perfect Husband Horse needs a new Partner.”
And immediately, my phone and email box blew up! I could not believe the response. I guess Perfect Husband Horses are in demand.
Ouch. My heart ached.
My radar was up.
Knowing Bodhi so well, I was able to weed out the people who were not a good match. Some wanted a more ‘goey’ horse. Some wanted their kids to ride him (he doesn’t like kids). Some wanted a horse for their Hubby but also their grandkids (oy, very bad for Bodhi’s temperament). Some wanted him to be a buddy to their own horse and ride him when the other was hurt (might as well stay here). And some just sounded like they were tire kickers or not exactly honest about their riding skills or horsemanship.
I narrowed it down to 8. Eight ‘over the phone seemed good’ people wanted to see him. Some coming all the way from the Bay Area… (members of our group had sent the email ad far and wide).
Wow. Bodhi must have been a favorite of the horsegods because the offer of a new love was looking very good.
Bittersweet, I thought.
One person, Monique (who had a lovely telephone voice), told me that she wasn’t a member of the group but had been sent the ad. She lived in Nevada City (close by) and had just lost her 32 year-old gelding (lived a good, long life) and her 22 year-old mare was slowing down (another good, long life) and her younger horse had an injury that probably wouldn’t heal enough for him to ride often… but she was keeping him anyway (sounded like a solid owner with responsibility), and her daughter used to show Morgans (Yay!) but has moved away to Oregon so now they have space for a new horse on their 22 acres (perfect) and they wanted a younger horse for Monique to ride out from their house on the trails (very nice) and for her Husband to ride occasionally. But mainly Monique wanted a new, younger, solid, calm horse with beautiful gaits for herself.
Just for good measure, I googled her name and found out that she is an artist who draws pets. Nice touch.
A very good match, I thought.
I told Monique that I had 7 others lined up.
She asked if she could come before all of them.
I wondered if that was improper… but decided it was fine and probably a good determiner of her interest. Sure! If you want to come at 8:30am on Saturday morning, you are welcomed.
And so they did.
Monique and her husband came out early the next morning. They arrived on time. They were very pleasant. Her husband had retired from a related business to mine. They both filled me with confidence that they reeked responsibility and kindness. They both felt very balanced as a couple. Mutual respect, very different types of beings that fulfilled each other. I could tell that retirement had not slowed them down.
Monique was very different than me… I stumbled on that for a moment and then I thought that might be better for Bodhi. Not that I was bad for him, but more like she was maybe better…
I watched her love on him and compliment him – it felt odd and wrong at first, but then I found myself looking at it differently. I got out of my own head and watched Bodhi’s eyes and his temperament around her. Bodhi was fine. He liked her. He even followed her when she walked into the arena. He looked back at me for reassurance… and I smiled.
My heart said, “Go for it, Buddy, it is OK.”
We both rode Bodhi (who hadn’t been ridden in 18 months) and he was a very good boy.
Monique asked if she could bring her farrier and vet out… her husband asked about a return policy.
A GOOD, HARD TALK WITH MYSELF
At first, I was not willing to bend much since I had 7 other people lined up. But… then I thought about it… I would ask the same things during pre-purchase, just in a different way. And truly, knowing myself, I had to ease up or I’d find all kinds of reasons why not to let him find a new human. ‘I love him. He lives here and is part of my family…’
But, that wasn’t really fair.
Although I kept trying to find a human just like me for him… I didn’t want another human just like me – because ‘exactly me’ didn’t match his needs. I wanted a human that I respected, that would appreciate, ride and take care of Bodhi … and who Bodhi liked.
So, I agreed to their terms. She could certainly have her vet and farrier out as long as it was timely – and I would honor a return policy if Bodhi did not integrate into her small herd at home.
And so it began… days of vet visits (the same vet that sewed him up) who came twice and gave him a full bill of health plus an extensive lameness exam. Two farriers came out, one old school and one barefoot. Both said he was an excellent choice for Monique.
Then she and Hubby came out again, to groom him and ride.
I think Bodhi was ‘vetted’ for about 6 days straight.
Of course he passed with flying colors.
On the last night, I kept him in the barn with Mama Tess. I wanted to groom and love on him and give him all kinds of special treats.
AND SO THEY TOOK HIM HOME.
All of this happened as I was preparing this last huge job and leaving the next day for the location shoot. So, I really had little time to process it. Which was good – probably the best situation for me to actually perform the task at hand.
I cried as they left. In fact, if Bodhi hadn’t loaded so fast and so easily, I probably would have started bawling as soon as she took his leadrope.
Monique’s husband was driving the truck and trailer and he was all business. Bodhi was loaded and they took off. I guess he was afraid that I might change my mind at the last minute… and he was almost right.
I sobbed a bit more and then looked over at Mama Tess. She looked back and said, “Good choice. More time for me.”
I smiled. Yup. I needed to let another human, with time and love, take care of Bodhi. He deserved it. He is and always will be, such a very fine and handsome boy.
(Big, huge sigh.)