Poet Gets His Own Teenager

Poet Gets His Own Teenager

I sold my horse.

If you’ve been following along, this may seem to come out of no where. It happened quickly for me too, but let me back up.

For as long as I remember, I’ve seemingly launched myself into big projects. I’ll write a book! I’ll go to grad school! Let me work another job! Let me find a better career! Do home improvement projects! Throw a party! Train a puppy! And of course, riding.

Aside from my very first horse which was a bad match to no fault of her own, I’ve never owned anything but a green horse. It’s been driven half by budget, half by this desire to chase big dreams. After all, I love a project in every sense of the word. Getting Simon from gangly, green, somewhat-lame six-year-old to my steady partner capable of winning remains one of the proudest accomplishments of my life. I had a lot of help with him of course, but I also put in countless hours myself.

When I bought Poet, I had that same sparkle in my eye that I did when I met Simon. I was smitten with him. He was, and is, so pretty! Even when we were learning how to steer, I had these big dreams in my head for both of us. In the early days, the green horse moments didn’t bother me that much. We had a long way to go, and although I am one of the least patient people in the world even I know that good things don’t come quickly. Through the first year I owned him, I worked on the basics but more importantly worked on building trust and a partnership with him. I don’t immediately bond to horses, even if I like them. It takes a lot of time, but he did slowly show me that he had my back in his own kind of way.

By year two, I was ready to go out there and do the thing. But I don’t have to tell y’all about horses and plans. For a long time, he’s been ready for a braver, scrappier amateur than me to go out and get him around a course. One that doesn’t blink at wiggles and innocent baby horse moves. But I blink. After so long not jumping anything over 18″, I’ve lost a lot of the belief that I can actually do it. The idea of getting around a course of anything more than crossrails on not-Simon feels as difficult as doing a Grand Prix right now.

Meanwhile, life and the big dreams I pursue—both in and out of the barn—continued. Taking on new challenges in my career means additional mental energy. Working a second job to pay for the privilege of having a show horse adds more hours to the clock. I’ve been spinning multiple plates for so long that I don’t even remember what it’s like to work 8 hours, have an easy, relaxing hack on my horse, and come home to watch TV with my husband before bed. Obviously the husband went away abruptly, but the rest has slowly shifted into my current life.

Photo © Heather N. Photography

Therapy has helped me realize how the standards I hold for myself maybe aren’t the healthiest. Burnout is a frequent topic. And even though I take a lot of pride in how much I accomplish and all the things I’ve been able to achieve since Tim died, I have to admit some things needed to change.

I love riding. I’m never quitting. And I love owning a horse. But as I began to look at all the moving pieces in my day-to-day, I realized that I didn’t know if I loved owning this horse.

After I moved barns to a program I adore and feel like I’m thriving in, I realized that my idea of a horsey happy place may not be a perfect match with my horse’s preference. Though his flatwork is really quite solid and he’s had a lot of training put into him at this point, he’s still a green horse. For a while now, the green horse moments have felt like more of a chore to get through than an exciting journey. While I work on my own struggles, anything from equitation to high levels of stress and anxiety, I want something further along.

Still, I think I would have stayed the course if it weren’t for Simon. Poet is a character. He has a huge personality, and I love that about him. He’s cocky and confident. He’s a prankster, and a perpetual toddler—always getting into something and cheekily testing you. He’s made me a better, tougher rider and I’ve learned so much from him. But something is missing from our partnership. I love him, but I’m not in love with him.

Now that he’s six and I’ve had him for two years, I’ve been reflecting more on Simon at 6 and how I felt about Simon two years in. The mere idea of selling that horse brought me to tears. Even when we had a frustrating green horse day, I called him a knucklehead and thought he was the greatest creature on the planet. I don’t know if it’s the phase of my life that I’m in right now or just a different personality, but I don’t have that deep love for Poet. And he deserves that level of commitment.

Talking through all of this to trainer, she agreed that it was probably best for me and my horse to find a different situation. He’s not finished, so this was certainly not a flip situation to make a buck (no bucks were made, believe me). Before we listed him, I texted a few trainers in the area who often had clients looking for less expensive projects. My first hunter/jumper trainer in Austin, the one who gave me Simon, said she had a good-riding teen on a budget that specifically wanted a Thoroughbred project.

Monday night this week, I hacked, scrubbed off all the poop and grass stains (only to be replaced by more poop and grass stains I’m sure), and hand grazed him for a long time. I always watch horses when I hand graze. It’s mostly a safety habit, since Simon would panic if he ever stepped on the lead rope so I take special care to keep that from happening. But with Poet I just like looking at him. He’s beautiful. I’ve never owned a pretty horse that turned heads before. Poet is the real-life version of every horse girl dream I had as a kid.

Before I left, I hugged his neck in the stall. And that’s when I cried. They were going to pick him up for a short trial and vetting the next morning. Even though I’d been thinking about this for weeks, the reality of saying goodbye hit my heart with an unexpected whack.

I cried because I’d miss him. This being the right choice doesn’t eliminate the feelings. I’ve sold horses before that I couldn’t stand and immediately celebrated their departure, but that isn’t the situation here. If I had a farm and unlimited money, he’d be my pet. I’d feed him treats, let him lick my face like a dog, and tell him he’s pretty.

More than that, I cried because I had a lot of dreams attached to Po that now aren’t going to happen. I wanted him to be the talented youngster that I brought along (with lots of help!) through hard moments and bruises to eventually have as my lovely, winning hunter. I wanted to loop the reins on that floaty canter and cruise over oxers at Pin Oak. I wanted him to be a heart horse for me like Simon. Those dreams aren’t going to be realized, and that’s part of the sadness.

Just a little over 24 hours after he loaded up to go, I got sent a video of his new kiddo cantering him over some little jumps. She loved him. He vetted fine. Now he’s her horse. He gets to be adored and doted over (which he will think is fabulous). What horse wouldn’t want their own teenager? The family sent me the nicest note about how kind he is, and how excited they are. She’s already posted him on Instagram. I’ll be able to keep tabs on him, and might even see him at the show I’m judging next weekend.

Photo © Heather N. Photography

I hope he’s good to her. I suspect he will be. Mostly, I hope together they make some of her dreams come true. Because we all deserve a horse like that, even if he isn’t going to be the one for me.

So—at least for me—this ends the chapter of Poet, Silversteen, Carateracho, my silly dappled creature. May he be her Simon.

22 thoughts on “Poet Gets His Own Teenager

  1. Moving on isn’t easy, but it’s often the right choice. Congratulations on making a hard decision that had both of your best interests in mind.

  2. What a tough decision! When I lost my horse of a lifetime it took me awhile and a horse in between to find my next fit. I finally found her (actually she found me). Best wishes for a wonderful new chapter whatever it may be!

  3. It takes a lot of soul searching to come to a conclusion like this – I hope Poet can be this kids horse of a lifetime and I hope that the search for the next one is kind to you and you find the horse that will not necessarily replace all that has happened, but makes the burden easier to carry. <3

  4. As odd as this may sound, I’m really happy for you. This sounds like a really healthy decision. I hope that the proceeds from the sale allow you to realize your next dreams. Looking forward to the next chapter of your journey!

  5. Huge decision and Iove how you said “This being the right choice doesn’t eliminate the feelings.” This is so true. The right choice is rarely the easy choice in life. Wishing you so much peace as you decide what comes next. Leasing has been very good to me, two thumbs up for that 😉 Also, please tell us more about the judging! You’ve piqued my curiosity big time.

  6. I sold my horse nearly two years ago and got the nicest message from his kid’s trainer this morning with a couple pictures. She mentioned how well he’s doing and how they’re continuing to learn and progress. While selling him was a very hard decision, it was absolutely the right now. He’s loved, I’m not stressed and I just get to enjoy horses again. I hope you find a horse to enjoy again and I hope Poet becomes that horse for his new kids. The hardest decisions and the right ones are often one in same it seems.

  7. like others have said, major kudos for recognizing that Poet wasn’t the right fit for you at this time. there are so many amazing horses out there, it’s important we adult amateurs focus our limited time/energy/resources on equine partnerships that are bringing us *immense* joy in allowing us to do the things we want to be doing with those limited resources — whatever that may be. major congrats also on finding what sounds like such a perfect fit for Poet too!! <3

  8. Very smart decision. I’m not in love with my horse either and it’s been 15 years. This gives me a lot to think about.

  9. Sometimes the tough call is the right call. I hope Po and his new teenager are really happy together, and I hope you’re able to find a horse to give you that trifecta of happiness you talked about in your “do I still want to ride” post. Big hugs, because I know there are still feelings involved even when making the best call ❤️

  10. Having been in your shoes with Badger, I can tell you, it’s super fun and rewarding to watch your horse thrive with his new human. It’s such a hard decision to make, but it sounds like the right one. I hope the right horse comes along soon and your heart can fill back up.

  11. Like others said, a decision like this takes a lot of self-awareness and strength. It sounds like the right decision for everyone. I am happy for all of you.

  12. While a hard decision, it was the best decision for you and Po. I am proud of you for taking the best path for your horse! I hope he soars with the teenager and you get to watch him soar! Good luck on your next endeavor!

  13. Just because it’s the right choice doesn’t mean it’s easy. Proud of you for doing what was right for yourself and for Poet. I will miss seeing his handsome face on your IG, but so happy he gets a teen to call his own. That’s something every horse deserves.

  14. What a tough decision, but it sure sounds like he landed with the perfect new rider/family. I will miss seeing the handsome boy, but I hope a new boy comes into your life when you are ready.

  15. It can be tough deciding that we are not a perfect fit for a horse we had hopes and dreams for. You know yourself better than any of us and it sounds like you have Poet’s best interest in mind. Keep riding with your mind, eyes and options open. The right horse for You will come your way. Lucky kid to get such a nice horse.

  16. Honestly, while you didn’t discuss selling Po on the blog, I wasn’t surprised to read this – and I was glad.
    Are you capable of training Poet? ABSOLUTELY! You could have made him anything you wanted to. You’re a capable rider and a good horsewoman. But it’s not just about what you *can* do, it’s about what you *want* to do. Po just isn’t the horse for you in this moment, and I’m so happy that you’ve opened the door for a new horse to walk into your life and be everything you want him to be. No one can ever be Simon again, but they can be the horse that you need, here and now in this moment. And I really look forward to seeing you enjoy that horse!

  17. It’s very hard to replace a heart horse. Now, with a bit more distance, you might find your next one, but in the meantime, you got to play with the lovely Po and get him ready for his teenager. It sounds like you made the right decision for both of you. Good luck with your horse shopping!

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