Friday, September 20, 2019

Saying goodbye is hard to do

Saying goodbye is never easy to do. Especially when you come across a horse so talented, sane with a great brain, and beautifully elegant to look at. Add in to that a very in-your-pocket personality and that is all she wrote to be in love:

Kiss the first time I met her as a 3 year old

My first ride on her to try her
I bought KissTheButterflies less than a week later after trying and meeting her. She was a birthday present to myself in September of 2017. I had great ambition and so many goals in store for us. My hopes for her and I would be to break into the upper levels of eventing and make it to a 3* heck even a 4* if we could.

Her first vertical jump!
She quickly excelled under saddle and showed her talent and ease towards jumping. She found a way to almost always correct her distances even if I missed. She almost always pushed with both feet and jumped to technically correct, it forced me to learn how to ride this different, more powerful jump.

One of our first times schooling off farm...clearly athletic! 
This photo made me realize this horse HAS IT! 
I boarded her close by to my older mare since my original boarding facility did not have room...I quickly realized both needed to be together and moved my other mare with Kiss. This kickstarted a whirlwind of activity and the beginnings of developing this new barn and lesson program.

Always so lovely to work with
I quickly realized I bit off more than I could chew after keeping my head down and pushing through for a while. I began feeling the financial strain more and more due to several extraneous changes in my life, job situation, etc. But I am fortunate to have the farm owners I am with who supported me in every way they could.

Kiss was so extraordinary different from my other mare. My other mare is phenomenal as well and will always be mine. But that mare has seen me through some really rough times...even this one. 

Kiss had some baby things to figure out. Like how to load on the trailer and stand on it without melting down and screaming the whole time...she learned the loading part in one 10 minute session. The standing and leaving friends part took a lot of traveling and repetition. 

One our first off farm flat schools
Meeting Tillie (my other mare) the first time

Learning that pawing while being tied is a no no

She also had this tendency to shake her head when she was nervous which drove me bonkers. But it was her way of saying this worries me. Adding leg and asking her to work usually made her sigh and go, "ok I get it now."

Settling in with Tillie
First canter under saddle

Finally standing quietly when tied

We started finding our groove and she really started showing me signs of the makings of a great event horse. Just enough bravery with some support but careful enough and smart enough to keep us safe, and keep the rails up as well. 

She used to straight up refuse going into this season was dropping in off banks

Her canter really started taking shape! 
I kept battling the hardships of life, hating my current job commuting about an hour sometimes more each way per day. I fought to keep this horse who was slowly but surely turning into a solid citizen so young.

Learning that trail riding isn't so scary 

Dealing with foot soreness (before we knew that is what it was)...and showing me she can really be athletic! 
But as already stated, life changes and caught to me all at once. Internally I would go back and forth on which horse should stay and which should find a new home. I even tried leasing to help offset cost and help keep both horses ridden. But the nagging feeling this was all just too much kept grating on me. I am not sure exactly when I decided it or how, but at some point I knew the adult choice was to put kiss on the market.

If anyone has ever had to sell a horse that you really do admire, you will understand this emotional rollercoaster. The pain and sadness of realizing you won't see their face when you go to the barn, but also the relief you feel because not only will your own situation improve, but so will hers. Because now she has an owner that will love only her.

Having fun doing a paper chase. It was her first outing like this one and cantering out in a group. She handled it fabulously.

Placing at our first show ever.

Kiss' first event ever in 2018

So fun to jump...easily adjustable. Not too forward or lazy. Just easy.

The only time I ever free jumped her - boy did she really show her natural ability.
I wasn't all that surprised that once I listed her, that I had quite a few people interested. But I wanted to be super picky about her next home. I let only a few people actually come try her and my heart filled with pride when I saw just how much kiss has learned, what she could offer someone else and just how far she has come. 

Schooling earlier this season she was doing Novice in her sleep!

A great learning xc school for her that really challenged her - but by the end was doing training level questions with ease

Loch Moy this year

Always solid jumping around at shows

Her first Novice CT showing just how easy this all is for her

Nope not touching! 

The next few photos are the last document rides on her with me. I tear up looking at them, but the are tears of many emotions...not just sadness. There is pride, joy, nostalgia and grief. I was worried I would regret rehoming her. She is after all, a horse of a lifetime. I know some people might think I am nuts for selling her and not my other mare, tillie. Tillie has her own hardships to do what kiss can do and definitely cant as easily...but my little tillie is tenacious and a trier. It boiled down to the connection I had and my new goals.

My new goals are to enjoy this sport again wherever it takes me. Slow down and ride because I want to not because I have to. Selling one of my horses seemed impossible to process for such a long time, until finally eventually my brain became at peace with it. I realized the home she was set up to go to was the best one I could ever dream of for her. And it makes it all ok. Sure, I am still sad but knowing this young rider will get to achieve all of her goals on her makes it worth it. 

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