Free to a Good Home: The Best Horse in the World

There isn’t a sale ad, as such, just a Facebook post and later a note that’s titled, “FREE TO THE RIGHT HOME: 18yo Mustang Mare.” The title fails to encompass everything that that sentence means. It could just as easily say, “Free to a good home: my best friend” or “Free to a good home: life-changing equine” or “Free to a good home, because I can’t do this anymore.”

Posting the finished ad feels like giving up. It feels like abandonment. It feels like breathing again after drowning. And that’s all well before a single possible home has presented itself.

When it comes to the subject of finding a new home for my horse, my Juno, I’m about out of words. I didn’t have many to begin with. It might seem melodramatic to be so wound up over the sort of transaction that happens every day, but Juno and I have always had a relationship that runs down to the bone, at least from my side of the equation. There were days when the only thing that got me out of bed was having to drag myself down to the hay barn to serve her breakfast. She’s been the catalyst of a tremendous amount of personal growth for me, and I honestly can’t imagine the person I’d be right now without her.

So now that I’m facing the prospect — the reality — of a future without her after eight years with her, and I can’t really imagine what it looks like. Sometimes I think the idea of not being able to drive down to the barn and see her will drag me deeper into the depression that I’ve fought all my life. And some days I can’t help but guiltily think that once she’s making her home in someone else’s barn, I’ll be able to breathe more freely than I have in eight years. There’s no way to know, really, until it’s done.

Of course, finding a home is in itself a challenge. The list of people wanting an 18-year-old, green-broke, undeniably beautiful mustang mare is remarkably short, and shortened further still by the fact that I’m picky about where she goes. On the other side of the equation is the list of exhaustively trained, child-safe, experienced, excellent saddle horses under ten who are being given away or sold cheap in the face of a truly awful horse market. Factored together, these things add up to what can only be described as a really crappy situation.

I can’t afford to keep my horse — have, in fact, never been able to afford my horse, and have been steadily digging myself deeper and deeper into debt to keep her. The end of all this is both sudden and inevitable. So it figures that right now, at a point where I could be looking forward to a summer season of riding for the first time in our partnership, instead I’m looking for a new partnership in an impossible economy. She might have a place with a friend in Oregon, a really ideal placement with a great person in a place with abundant pastures and relatively affordable hay supplies. I wouldn’t have to worry about her.

I want more time.

I want it over with.

I don’t want to talk about it anymore.

So I’m spending what time we have left enjoying Juno’s company, and I’m making an effort at moving on, pre-emptively. I’m changing my blog and my shop and every other piece of me — well, except the tattoos — so that every minute of living my life isn’t a reminder of a face I’ll miss like mad. I felt I should probably also do something to reflect the fact that, although I’ll still be driving a carriage and probably eventually be getting into riding lessons or something else, it’ll probably be quite a very, very long time before I own a horse again.

So, you’ll shortly find this blog continued in all its random glory at BrightStrangeThings.com, and from there you’ll be able to find my art, photos and other endeavors. It’ll take a little time, but hopefully it’ll be more organized this time around. Thanks for reading so far, and for following my chronicles with Juno, and I hope you’ll continue to read. I solemnly promise that I won’t usually be this maudlin.