This week will change my life
Five years ago, my neighbor adopted a mare from a rescue. Long story short, I spent about 10x more time with the mare than my neighbor did, and formed an incredible bond. After riding dozens if not hundreds of different horses, none of them captivated my heart like she did. A year later, my neighbor sent her back to the rescue, and I was devastated. I was 15 at the time and didn't have the means to adopt her myself. I saw she got adopted in the following month, and decided I needed to put that chapter of life behind me if I had any hope of moving forward in other parts of my life.
Fast forward four years, and on a sheer stroke of luck I found her back up for adoption on the rescue's website! I wasn't actively looking for her; I just remembered the rescue for the first time in four years and decided to explore the website. I immediately contacted them and asked about her. They said she was just returned from her previous adopted home and is now back up for adoption. My irrational mind started to plan to adopt her. I am currently financially independent, so month-to-month expenses wouldn't be an issue, but I'm also a full time college student with a part time job, and once this ends, it's off to vet school.
I decided I'd poke around for boarders anyway. It was surprisingly easy to find a very great pasture board opportunity very well within my budget - boarding, check. The stable owner gave me vet and farrier contacts - references, check. I asked around my horsey friends and one agreed to trailer for me - transport, check. I applied to adopt. I don't know if I even knew what I was doing; I just wanted to see how far I could get before they said no. The rescue got back to me and said they really don't like to home their horses out-of-state (the rescue is in Maine, and I moved to PA for college), but I could come visit. So I did. 800 miles round-trip in my rusty old Corolla, just to visit this mare. After my visit, they agreed to overlook the out-of-state policy because they had never seen her respond so well to anyone else before, including their trainer (very high-energy Arabian/Standardbred cross mare). She obviously remembered me, and it felt like the four years in between never happened.
Now all that's left is a Skype virtual site inspection (so the rescue can see the boarding facility she would be at). That's scheduled solidly for this Thursday. They agreed that if it goes well, I can trailer her down this Sunday.
Holy. Crap. Am I crazy?? I have never owned a horse before (but have 10 years of at least 3-days-a-week horse experience). Everyone says don't get a horse in college, don't bring a horse to vet school, wait until your education is finished. Well, I can afford it (perhaps with a little more debt upon graduation), and I (surprisingly) have the time. I just didn't think I'd get this far in the adoption process, and I'm keeping the craziness of vet school in mind. Now, it's basically down to one last hurdle. Either they give me the go-ahead and I'll officially adopt her, or they don't, and all this time and energy - two months of emails, phone calls, planning, coordination, and an 800 mile drive - is wasted. Both options are equally nerve-wracking. I so desperately want her back in my life, and would be incredibly honored to provide her a forever home. At the same time, moving to vet school with her and finding another boarder nearby will be a big challenge. But if the rescue says yes, there is no way in the world I'll back down.
I just wanted to put this all down somewhere to put a small part of my mind at rest. Am I capable of it? Absolutely. Will it be difficult? Yes. There's no doubt in my mind the rest of my education with her by my side would be like (both literally and figuratively) flying through the woods dodging low branches and swerving around boulders, just trying to hold on. The alternative of no adoption seems simpler and easier, but since when have I liked simple and easy? The end result of the rest of this week might drastically change the next 10+ years of my life. Here's to hoping for the best, whatever life has in store for me and this mare - whether together or separate.