Last summer, I had to retire my horse, Bam Bam. It was a very emotional thing for me and I really had a difficult time letting go. It's hard to explain the relationship I had with him. Maybe it was the fact that I raised him or maybe it was because he's the most unique animal I have ever met. Maybe it was believing in him so hard that I couldn't let myself give up on him despite all of the signs that he couldn't do his job anymore.
Eventually, though, it became very clear that Bam Bam was no longer able to compete. He was miserable and I was miserable and I had to let go of him in order to give him the life he deserved. Letting him go was one of the hardest decisions I've ever made. As cheesy as it sounds, I had promised him when he was young and recovering from one of the many surgeries that would ultimately lead to his retirement, that I would always take care of him.
I couldn't just sell him because then I might never know how or where he was. What if something terrible happened to him? He not an easy horse to ride or deal with and I couldn't bear thinking that someday he might end up on a slaughter truck. (I'm not over reacting on this. Non horse people would be shocked if they knew how many show or race horses end up going to slaughter if they are no longer useful.)
An opportunity came up for Bam Bam to go to a ranch to help kids suffering from emotional trauma. The kids work with the horses and the horses teach them about love and understanding.
I follow the ranch's Facebook page and would always be on the look out for pictures of Bam. They post all sorts of pictures of the kids playing with the horses and Bam was never in any of them. As months went by, I had convinced myself that maybe he wasn't useful to them or that he wasn't good with the kids.
I never doubted that he was well cared for, they're very good people. I also have a contract with them that if he doesn't work out, I get to take him back. But as months went by and I never saw pictures of him, I worried more and more that maybe he didn't fit into their program.
Finally, finally, last week I saw a picture of Bam in my Facebook news feed and immediately burst into tears. At work, of course. (Not that I'm on FB at work if my boss is reading this.)
|Bam is a total attention whore, so this job is perfect for him.|
I could have saved myself months of worrying and heartache if I had just had the guts to contact the woman that runs the ranch. I was so worried that they weren't happy with him, that I couldn't bring myself to ask if they liked him. I sent them a message on FB after they posted his picture and this was the response that I got:
I seriously can't read this without crying and I've read it like a hundred times. My special little horse is helping kids and apparently he's a rock star at it. I knew he'd be great if they gave him a chance, but he can be a little weird at times and needs understanding himself.
I'm so happy that he's made a difference in this little girl's life. He's a special guy and I can't express how relieved I am that he's appreciated and loved for who he is.