I read a comment from someone the other day that said the process of finding a new horse ended up creating a healing effect in the wake of losing a special horse.
In my Horse History post, I mentioned that I'd just know when I found the right next horse. But I was in no rush. In fact, I was riding the fence about pushing my search off another 6-12 months more.
I would casually look but I never went any further. My riding instructor knew the situation and I considered leasing a seriously amazing (and WAY out of my budget) horse from her. In the end, I didn't think it was right for me, timing and fit, though in theory it sounded like the perfect scenario.
I kept casually looking. I was consciously not looking to replace Indie. I didn't even want to look at a horse with a cute little star on her forehead.
Then I received a call from my instructor. She prefaced the conversation with the fact that there was absolutely no pressure BUT she had a horse in mind for me to consider.
A 10 year old warmblood mare who is sweet as pie and a total puppy dog but needs brought back into work. Hmm. Probably a better idea than starting over with a 3 year old off the track Thoroughbred, at least at this moment in my life.
I immediately told her that all the reasons I decided against the lease still stood but I'd think about it, and send over some pictures...
Well, if she's not just the cutest face on the planet.
I decided to think about it a little more and learn a little more about her. It turns out her owner is a close friend of my instructor and has had this mare since she was a 2 year old.
She has not had much time for her over the last couple years as her teenage daughter's riding life has taken off and they've focused on her rising jumper. But she just couldn't bring herself to part with this sweet mare. However, she knew she was doing her no favor by just having her as a pasture pet when she could do so much more. But it had to be the perfect home.
I was flattered my instructor thought that I would be a great fit and it just felt right. I slept on it some more and then decided I had to see her.
Of course, that picture above it actually her in my barn so...that's how that visit went.
Meet Emma. My sweet new mare.
She is now loving life at Long Lane Farm and I'm just loving that I get to build a new bond with such a special horse. She has certainly helped me with healing from my loss of Indie.
I'm a serious sucker for bay mares.
I went looking for something that did NOT look like Indie (of course I still couldn't resist a bay) but...well....
The average Joe could not tell them apart in some aspects! Especially these stall photos.
Indie on the left, Emma on the right! Same stall even!
The differences: Emma is a good 8" taller than Indie was. Her rump is about equal with my height. You can see the difference of where their necks/jaws hit on the stall yoke. Emma has more white on her facial markings and she's a darker bay color. And I have to say way less sassy. I sure miss that sass though.
I've started working with her on the ground, lunging and positive reinforcement training. She is a smart girl and likes to please. I have noticed a big change in myself when working with her. With horses it's important to stay relatively unemotional. They can sense your anger, anxiety, fear, etc. If they do something wrong or seem to act out, it's either because they don't understand or they have pain or they are fearful...that's it. People like to say that their horse is bratty or disrespectful and it's just not the case. Horses do not possess the same developed frontal lobe of their brain that humans have. The frontal lobe and prefrontal cortex is capable of reasoning, planning, organizing, and goal setting. Horses are therefore not capable of being bratty or disrespectful. They are either showing a lack of understanding, pain, or fear. In either case, getting angry or worked up never helps. It won't make them understand and it certainly won't decrease their fear or pain.
I practiced having neutral emotions with Indie, who was certainly a spicy gal, and because of what I learned from Indie I see such a difference in my interactions with Emma. I stay calm and cool no matter what she does. Even galloping and bucking at the end of the lunge line. I just relax and let her know it's all okay. It makes such a difference.
I'm so thrilled with Emma. I can't wait to see where we go together.
I'm thankful for the healing she's already brought me.