My heart horse is coming home!! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 51 Old 09-24-2011, 10:00 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 713
• Horses: 2
My heart horse is coming home!!

I'm going to apologize in advance -- I'm really, REALLY excited. Over the moon, you might say!

After searching for her for 12 years, I finally found my heart horse. She's a 16 year old Standardbred mare who raced for a while, and was retired sound to become a broodmare. She raised babies for 10 years, and was recently listed for sale. I came across her ad and noticed that this mare looked a lot like a filly I used to work with. I called her owner and asked some very specific questions about her history, quirks and scars... it's the same horse!

To give you a background story on this special mare - I knew and worked with her when she was a baby. For the longest time, she was a shy, skittish little thing and no one could get near her. She was extremely head shy and refused to let anyone handle her ears. For some reason, she decided to trust me and within an hour of meeting her, she was allowing me to rub her ears. I could stroke her face, rub her legs, groom her without issue. She would follow me around her stall as I mucked it and would call to me whenever I passed her stall. When it came time to train her for the track, I was the only one that could harness and take her out. If I wasn't there, she would have a minor panic attack and melt down. If I wasn't waiting to bring her from the track, she would insist on jogging laps until I showed up. She was terrified of whips and very skittish around men... I was absolutely devastated when I showed up at the barn one day to find her gone. I've spent the last 12 years looking for her, because I only knew her by her stable name and not her registered name. When I could finally afford a horse, I tried to track down her old owners or trainers in hopes of locating her and offering to purchase her... but I never got very far. It was pure luck that I found her online, and fate that it turned out to be the same horse.

It has been a long and involved process to bring this mare home, with the first step being to sell my young gelding. The seller for my heart horse agreed to keep her for me until I could sell my gelding, so I wouldn't feel pressured to sell him to the first offer. After a month of searching, I found the perfect family for Levee. Today he went home with a young man and woman who have a few other horses and were thrilled to add Levee to the mix. They're going to let him hang out for a bit and eventually use him for ranch/trail work. They were very patient with his trailer phobia and tried to make his second trailer ride EVER as painless as possible. It took an hour to load him, but they never tried to scare him into the trailer. Overall, I feel very good about selling my boy to them and I know he'll have a wonderful home.

And now, I just have to drive out to see my mare, pay for her and bring her home. By the end of October, I'll have my heart horse home and hundreds of pictures for you all!

(Sorry, I just had to rave to someone. My boyfriend isn't very horsey, and he doesn't believe that someone can get so attached to an animal and remain so attached after such a long time. I know you all would know what I meant!)

Courtney is offline  
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post #2 of 51 Old 09-24-2011, 10:26 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: AZ
Posts: 4,840
• Horses: 2
I am so happy for you! That is absolulely wonderful news~~can't wait to see some pics after you get her home. Good for you for always continuing the hunt,
Cacowgirl is offline  
post #3 of 51 Old 09-24-2011, 10:36 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Ohio
Posts: 4,260
• Horses: 15
That's incredible! You must post pics asap.

100% Anti-Slaughter and PROUD of it!
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post #4 of 51 Old 09-24-2011, 10:56 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 713
• Horses: 2
You guys... you have no idea how happy I am! I've been jumping around all day, chattering to whoever will listen to me. I'm sure my boyfriend is ready to lock me in a padded room. When I first found her, I called my mom and I was sobbing. My mom remembers Vanna and she was absolutely floored that I managed to locate her. She's actually coming with me when I go to pay for her, because she knows I'll be in no condition to drive safely. My mother, my wonderful mother, has even told me that she's paying for all the gas to and from the farm (a 5 hour round trip) as a gift to the both of us. She remembers how much I loved this silly little filly and how upset I was when she was sent away. I remember her holding me as I cried, because I was so heart broken. And now, she'll probably have to hold me again when I see Vanna for the first time in so many years, because I will absolutely lose my composure. I don't know if Vanna will remember me after all these years, but if she does... I know I'll be a sobbing mess on the ground. If she doesn't, that's okay. I remember her and I have all the time in the world to help her get to know me all over again.

I just can't wait to have her home with me, after so many years. She has never been completely saddle broken, but that's okay. Most Standardbreds are extremely easy to train to ride - the majority are completely bomb proof and willing to accept whatever you throw at them. When I used to work with them, we would routinely hop up on their backs and ride them around the field with just a halter and lead. My primary goal for Vanna is to have her accept me on her back, whether it's with a saddle or bareback. If she absolutely refuses, I guess I'll just have to buy a small jogging cart and drive her around.

As soon as I've officially purchased her, I will post the pictures that her seller has sent me. She's so beautiful, with a very Warmblood-type face. She definitely doesn't look like a typical Standardbred. According to her seller, she is routinely mistaken for a leaner-bodied Warmblood.
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post #5 of 51 Old 09-25-2011, 12:31 AM
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Utah
Posts: 132
• Horses: 2
Oh my gosh, your posts made me cry! I'm so excited for you! What a miracle for you to find her again AND be able to buy her! I hope your dreams all come true, and can't wait to see pictures of you together.
brandilion is offline  
post #6 of 51 Old 09-26-2011, 03:43 PM
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: East Midlands, UK
Posts: 456
• Horses: 2
I'm so pleased for you! I hope the two of you are so happy together!
Just remember, she may have changed a little over the years away from you, so don't be too disappointed if she's a little different to what you remember. That said, she'll probably remember you, especially if your bond was very strong. With a little training and re-trust work, she'll probably be the very horse you fell in love with before!

I'm so pleased for you both, and I'm sure we'd all like regular updates to her progress when she comes home with you!
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post #7 of 51 Old 09-26-2011, 04:29 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 713
• Horses: 2
Thanks, Holly. I'm not expecting much. I've seen some pictures and she definitely looks different - I knew her as a scruffy little filly who was put together a little awkwardly. She looks nothing like that now. According to her current owner, she has retained a lot of her strange little quirks, such as only liking men from a distance, or preferring that people not carry whips, crops or anything that may resemble such an object. She can be very aloof to strangers, but can be quite 'in the pocket' once she knows and trusts you.

I'm going to go in with the expectation that she will have no idea who I am. If she remembers, awesome. If not, well... we'll start fresh. I remember her, and that's good enough for me. :)

Lots of pictures and updates will be posted. As of this moment, it looks like she'll be coming home around mid-October.
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post #8 of 51 Old 09-26-2011, 04:47 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: South East Texas
Posts: 7,157
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subbing to see this lovely horse! I am so happy to hear that you've found her. The fact that you understand that she may not be the same horse she was in phenominal, and your willingness to retrain and work to gain her trust again is, also. So many people in these situations assume that a horse will always recognize them after many years, and are devestated when they do not. I truely hope that she DOES remember you, though! You ought to have your mom videotape your reunion!

Everyone in your life is meant to
be in your journey, but not all of
them are meant to stay till the end.
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post #9 of 51 Old 09-26-2011, 04:48 PM
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: East Midlands, UK
Posts: 456
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Well, atleast you're prepared she may not be how you remember her, but it's great that she'll finally be yours!!
I'm so excited for you!! Please keep us updated when you get her
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post #10 of 51 Old 09-26-2011, 05:22 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 713
• Horses: 2
Thanks! I’m not sure I want my mom to videotape the reunion… I’ll be a sobbing, babbling mess, I’m sure. I’m not a very pretty crier. Haha. Chances are, my mom will be crying too hard to hold a camera anyway – once I start crying, my mom usually isn’t far behind and she knows how special this mare is to me. I tried to warn the seller just how emotional this could get and she just giggled. From talking to her, I get the impression that she’s just so happy that her horse will have a good home with someone that already knows her and will love her unconditionally. When I first spoke to her on the phone, all she could talk about was how sweet and willing this mare was, and how special she was. The seller wanted to keep her, but the sad fact of the matter is: She runs a breeding facility and a non-producer takes up space that another broodmare could have. Rather than sending her away to an unknown fate, she is trying to find her a great home and she sounded more and more relieved the longer we talked.

To be honest, I would be absolutely thrilled if my mare simply pricked her ears in my direction and let me catch her to say hello. If she does that, I’ll be ready to fly over the moon. Anything else and I’m sure I’d be completely and utterly shocked. I just can’t wait to have her home. I feel bad for saying so, but the anticipation to see my young gelding was never like this. I loved him and enjoyed spending time with him… but I never felt the heart-pounding excitement that I’m feeling right now. The people who bought my gelding, however, they were absolutely thrilled to have him and he’ll have the kind of wonderful home that he deserves.
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