I was a trainer/instructor for many years. I was a single mother as well. A lot of trainers also have part time other jobs, mainly because we are stupid and don’t charge what we are worth. We work long hours, get hurt often, work in all weather, deal with some of the worst people on earth, and some of the best. We work seven days a week, with horses that other people wouldn’t touch.
I loved every day of that life. I have had many fantastic horses. 3 horses who were horses of my heart. 2 have passed away, one is in Texas. I had to sell him when my kids were young and I left my SO because he had a drug problem.
But we get older. Horse trainers limp, have arthritis. Hard lives and hard work, and aging don’t go well together. I ended up with an auto immune disease, Lupus. But I am doing pretty well. It is harder for me to trim their feet. Harder to care for them. I am weaker, I break easier, get tired easy. But it still brings me joy.
So I cut down on horses and got down to just two mares. One mare is a six-year-old daughter of a very old mare who is gone now, the other mare is An elderly mare who I have had for a very long time.
The old mare wasn’t always old. Many years ago, I got a phone call from a friend who said that there was a nice mare on the hundred acres property that she had sold, that they couldn’t catch. She was running free in the pasture, they tried roping her and several people had tried catching her to no avail. She was abandoned by her previous owner who had shown her in halter. She is very well bred, an own daughter of zips chocolate chip. She’s a frosted buckskin Appaloosa. She was gorgeous, still is. They said if can catch her, she is yours. The new owners of the property will shoot her if I can’t get her out of there, they want to bring in cows and calves. I decided to go out and try to catch her. I didn’t approach it the way others did I took a book, a bag of apples, and a bag of carrots. I sat on a stump in the middle of the pasture where she could see me and proceeded to read my book and eat carrots and apples. It didn’t take more than 10 or 15 minutes before she couldn’t stand it anymore, and came to see if she could cage some carrots or apples off me. She could, I shared out my carrots and apples gave her a couple of scratches and she liked it. I put my halter and lead rope on her, stood on the stump, jumped on her back and rode out of the pasture. my friend was flabbergasted. She loaded right into my trailer. I have never had a problem catching her since that day.
I have done many things with this mare. She wasn’t quite my heart horse, but she is very special to me. I won a saddle on her for competitive trail. She has given lessons, broke into the stud pen and gave me a baby. Carried my grand babies. Let me cry on her when my son died. Been my friend.
Her name is Pepsi. I have forgotten her registered name, and it doesn’t matter to me anyway.
Found out last year, Pepsi has cancer in her skull. Pepsi is blind and now has been getting confused. She gets lost sometimes on my property. Steroids helped her. Soon they won’t help her anymore and she may start having headaches. Then my friend will have to be let go. It is a very hard thing to say. Harder to do. But I cannot see my friend hurting, scared and confused.
Loving horses means making decisions based on what is best for your horse. Not what is easiest. Not what is cheapest. I have eaten frozen burritos for a week so my horses could get farrier care when I was no longer able to do it myself. When I had kids, priorities were, kids, animals then me. Now it is animals, then me.
I will lose a little of myself when the time comes. I am taking it day by day. Today I dewormed her, brushed her and then just sat on her. We just enjoyed the odd sunny day in winter and each other’s company. That is enough.