I am #thecomeback.
Me in 2014 when I first arrived in Illinois
My life was nearly over before it ever really began… I was 6 years old and the only reason I ended up in better hands was because I was “too pretty” to just send to a kill pen or spend my life as a test mare in the quarantine barn. I couldn’t be turned out, I was mastering my rearing skills, and even had earned the nickname “Wretched (insert nasty word here).” My luck changed the day a nice lady came to see me. I hid in the back of my stall. I came at her when she tried to touch me and yet still she took me home. She spent the better part of a year brushing me in the pasture, teaching me how to lunge, how to handle turnout better than racing around like a lunatic, and telling me about her daughter that I would surely love. A year later I left Florida for Illinois and walked off the trailer into my new life. It was rocky starting… I didn’t trust anyone and had energy that lasted for days. But my new Mom was patient. She was kind and she seemed to be determined to figure me out, despite my attempts to deter her. There were times I thought she was ready to give up on me, she often said under her breath, “good thing you’re so cute.”
We kept at it.
She seemed so in-tuned to how I was feeling-she pushed and pushed until she discovered I had one ovary that was twice the size of the other and she made the hard decision to just have them removed. I was so much happier after those were gone, but I was still quite a “handful.” My mom sought out a trainer that had experience in working with difficult horses. She traded in her jumping saddle for a dressage saddle hoping it would be a better fit for me, she started me over from scratch and we booked countless hours on the ground and in a round pen. She re-explained things to me that everyone assumed I already knew. She would explain things to me as many times as I needed to hear them… which sometimes was a lot. One time her trainer said, “this would be so much easier if she was just a little less smart.” But still, they persisted. I was making huge progress, but my inclination to rear when pushed beyond what I thought I could do was still prevalent. As fate would have it, my mom went to a seminar about ulcers and came to see me the next day and said, “ I’ve got an idea.” 7 months of ulcer treatments, scopings, Gastrogard, and relentless research, my Mom got my stomach completely healed.
For the first time in forever my stomach didn’t hurt… and guess what!? I stopped rearing.
My mom and I have struggled together to find our “place” in the horse world. Do we jump? Yes. Do we do dressage? Yes. We’ve decided that from here on out, we are just going to do what makes us both happy… which is spending time together. Now that she’s opened a rehab center with her best friend (and also mine, because Katie’s massages are one of my favorite things besides Guinness), I spend a lot of time as a “guinea pig” but I don’t actually know what that means. I am in photo shoots which I love because let’s be honest, I see a camera lens and my ears just know what to do! I’m sure you’ll be seeing lots of me here and on social media, my Mom says I’m stuck with her for life, and I’m pretty sure at 14 my life is just getting started. I’m proud my mom and Katie are working so hard to bring horse rehab to the forefront.
Me and my Mom after a great lunging session
One of my favorite things is when I get to meet new friends that come into the rehab facility! Everything they do around here is to make us horses feel better. Many are feeling out of sorts in their life as they navigate their recovery. The stories they tell me as we are dozing off for the night can be heartbreaking, but with the help of Katie and my mom- they start to brighten up and they realize that rehab means so much more than the dreaded stall rest! They rub, stretch, work, brush, bathe, and make sure that every day we feel better than we did the day before. They are so in-tune with our individual personalities, who likes carrots vs. apples, who may need some extra attention, and they always seem to be one step ahead of what we need. From the older gentlemen that have joined us, or our grand prix athletes, all of us are thrilled to be living and cared for at a place with everything that makes us feel wonderful!