When Shelby came off the trailer, I felt sick to my stomach. She was skin and bones, starved, whip shy (her owner smacked her around the head with a riding crop ever since she was a yearling) and dehydrated. When I first saw her in the kill pen at the auction house, I knew she was worth more than pounds of meat. So I persuaded my trainer to buy her under these conditions - I would put some weight on her, school her for a few months, and then find a decent and suitable forever home for her.
That was in December. Shelby has improved drastically, and in April we were mailed her paperwork. She is a Paso Fino x Thoroughbred. She is a gorgeous albino mare, and I love her to bits.
I broke Shelby in Western tack and found her to be a quiet horse, reliable on the trails, and responsive to the slightest nudge of a heel. She was eager to learn and please and loved to be praised. I spoiled her with tidbits of my sandwiches, any mints I had lying around, and chunks of carrot whenever I could. I spent hours in her stall, grooming her and petting her, and grew to adore that mare.
When Colby came to me, I didn't have as much time for her as I'd have wanted. I couldn't ride her every day and I wasn't visiting her with treats and grooming supplies. I didn't stop whenever I passed her in the pasture and I didn't give her a pat whilst walking through the barn aisle.
Fortunately, someone else did. Alexis is nine years old, but has been riding her whole life. Her mother breeds Thoroughbreds; she lives two hours away. She was at our barn one day with her father, who is our farrier. It was my first time meeting her. While her father trimmed Colby's feet I found her in Shelby's stall, admiring the 5-year-old mare. Shelby adored the attention. Alexis asked if she could come visit her tomorrow; I said yes, of course you can.
Alexis began showing up with treats stuffed in her pocket, and on Friday I took her out on the trails. She rode Shelby; I rode Colby. She loved her.
Shelby is being trailered out to Alexis's place on Thursday. She has found a forever home that I am sure would suit her wonderfully. Alexis is horse-smart and knows her riding. I'm sure she will always love her, and am proud to have come this far with Shelby. Sure, I will miss her, but I know she will be happy.