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!)