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Hey everyone, I'm sad today because my best friend, Nova the QH mare, was sold to a new owner. She was never mine but I have been working with her on and off for the past year and she was the first horse I really bonded with. I love her so much and she was a super sweet horse. I learned so much from working with her and even though I will be able to see her in her paddock when we go into town it will never be the same. How have you all dealt with it and moved on in the past? Are any of you going through similar situations?
 

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When I was younger and at a lesson barn with questionable morals, I fell in absolute love with one of the lesson horses. Chestnut QH with the kind of blaze that your stereotypical chestnut with chrome would have. I half leased him, spent an entire summer with him, then about 3 months after that the reality of the situation was made clear that I didn't own him. They sold him immediately after the lease ended and I rode him 1 time after the sale, when my assigned lesson horse came up lame with an infected cut...

I was devastated about the sale because of how much I adored that horse. Like there was this one time, the owner of the barn made us switch horses mid-lesson and she put me on a crazy OTTB that I was terrified of. I started bawling my eyes out, and cried about wanting to be on the QH gelding. (We're talking about 11yr old with 0 confidence on a horse who was way too much horse.) That was my level of obsession with that boy.

Anyway. It was a lesson in loving and losing. I learned to cherish all the memories from that summer with him, took a couple pictures of him before he moved barns, and still have them to this day. If you're able to stop by and say hi, do it. Never forget that horse and everything you had, but also don't close yourself off from the next pony who will bring a new list of things for you to learn from.

(Though admittedly, I'm still looking for mine lol.)
 

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When I was a kid I stayed with my grandpa who was a great horseman (everyone admired him for it), but with people he was not so great... One of the horses near the farm had a foal and during the stay with my grandpa I bonded with the foal. We would run along the fenceline together, I spent hours with the horses and the foal. One day I asked my grandpa what would happen with the foal and he told me it wasn't a good horse and that they would probably slaughter it for meat. I felt absolutely horrible and felt that I had to cry. I asked him if there was no other solution and he told me: maybe on a kid's farm, but I doubt it.

Well thanks grandpa. :p I will never forget that summer and that horrible feeling that a horse was going to die and I couldn't do anything about it.
 

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Also I ride my friend her horse, I have been riding him for a year and in the beginning he made it very difficult for me (rearing, going backwards, spinning with me on top of him, cantering wildly when I didn't ask for that) and I was kinda desperate but I always stayed calm. Now he is the most wonderful horse ever to me. He initiated the bonding proces by following me around and gently touching me. After a year we bonded and I suddenly realized I came to care deeply about him... It went very slowly and with little steps but I did. I realized this when the covid lockdown happened and I couldn't see him for several months. I really missed him... :) He is 13, I hope he will live for another 10 or more years because I already know it will hurt big time if I have to lose him.

Bonding can give you a lot of joy but it can also hurt...
 

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I'm very sorry for the hurt you are experiencing. I will commiserate - I think this is a rather common experience for people who don't own their own horses because of the impermanence.

I found my first "heart pony" a few years ago - a sassy 13.2 grade pony mare named Sundae. She worked better for "advanced beginners" and I was thrilled when my instructor decided I was at the point I could lease her. I leased her for about 7 months in all. She took me from barely cantering to cantering confidently. We were doing well in a local rated show series - I was actually on track to taking first in one of the classes at end-of-year awards. And then...her owner decided it was time to move her horses to a new barn. Just like that. My heart felt like it broke into pieces. I ended up having to take a little time away from riding and then switch barns altogether because I just didn't enjoy the 16h dull gentle giant gelding they put me on after that.

What did Sundae leave me with? She left me with 1) my worst fall and permanent nerve damage in my back (not her fault - a massive snow/ice drift fell off the roof of an indoor and I fell off onto a ground pole) 2) a lump in my arm from a bite when I tightened her girth too fast, but most of all 3) a deep understanding of the bond between mare and rider and the excitement that finding the right mount can bring me.

I'm finally able to look for my own now and guess what? I inadvertently compare all of them to that darn pony mare.

It hurts so much - I know - it will dull into an ache, and you will be grateful for what she taught you.
 
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