There’s a special pit of despair you get admission to when you suddenly lose a horse. Painted on the wall is a door with a sign above it that says “ESCAPE via INAPPROPRIATE REBOUND HORSE”. I had never really understood before why and how people would make such terrible decisions on potential life partners right after losing a horse. I thought a lot of things would stop me from doing that — needing some time, trying to retain a scrap of common sense, friends who would caution against poor choices.
I get it now. A week ago Monday I would have paid a stupid amount of money for something to pour my excess emotion into and some hope.
[And here’s the thing: I already believe that many humans lay waaaay too much emotional baggage on to their horses. The language I hear some people use about horses — that they are their therapists, their best friends, the only thing keeping them sane — I don’t think that’s fair to horses. I don’t think it’s kind to ask them to carry their burdens AND ours for an indefinite period of time. To get a new horse and dump all your sadness and expectations and dreams from your old horse and broken hopes and dreams for a new horse and expect that to heal you seems triply unfair.]
Fergus died on Monday. On Tuesday, I decided I would ask my old trainer if she had an ottb project she could send me for a little while. With Fergus gone, I had nothing to ride. TrB’s program doesn’t have a whole lot of catch rides available, and most of the ones that come up go to her teenagers — it’s a big soft spot she has and that’s okay. But I knew that without Ferg, I was shit out of a ride.
And because I talked to my friends pretty much nonstop Monday and Tuesday (and they were there for it — <3), when I mentioned this plan Kate asked “So do you want Sebastian for a couple of months?”
And so the next day I started calling haulers and the day after that I had his trip booked and on Tuesday, Kate’s working student put Sebastian on the trailer for me and on Wednesday morning he walked off the trailer to a brave new cold, wet world in Oregon.
Li’l Sebastian is one of Kate’s incredible Craigslist finds. He’s a certified Pupper Horse, and mostly wants to be right next to you so he can lick you and you can scratch his neck. He’s got some pretty solid training on him (thanks to Kate and her students!) and is a very cool creature who, just the Sunday before he came up here, became unemployed by virtue of his rider heading back to college. He has been the perfect distraction.
So far Sebastian’s greatest flaws are wanting to be too close to me for good photos and screaming in loneliness after having his life torn apart and a 17 hour trailer ride. Criminal, I know. Oh well, that and discovering that he could trick the Big Poppa of his pasture into playing rougher than an old man should.
Maybe it’s hypocritical to fill Fergus’s stall with a loaner horse less than two weeks after his death. I certainly was pretty judgmental about it a few hundred characters ago. But new horses are full of hope, and planning and preparing are distractions. So I’ve promised Sebastian that he has no shoes to fill, and if we don’t get along, he has a home and can go there at any time. (Because, I reiterate: my friends are the best.)
I’m so grateful to have friends who know what the pit of despair is like and how a super cute hony can help you find your way out of it. I’m so grateful to have a community (you guys!) who knows what this is like, whose words and sympathies are more than platitudes.
To paraphrase Malcolm Reynolds, if you can’t walk, crawl. If you can’t do that, find someone to carry you. Thanks friends, for being willing to do some heavy lifting.