Horse Crazy: How This Amazing Animal Changed My Life
I used to be horse crazy...I mean super horse crazy. When I was a little girl, it's all I thought about. I asked for a horse for every birthday, every Christmas...and I wanted horse-related books, magazines, figures, etc. The answer was always the same: "you won't take care of a horse, you'll get tired of it, it's too expensive blah blah blah".
As I approached middle school, I'd given up on the idea I'd ever own a horse. Then one day, a classmate in my school had a horse for sale another friend had heard about. I went to visit the horse and even started to ride her. She was amazing; gentle, friendly, calm, and easy to ride. I'd found the perfect horse for me; a beginner (the price tag was $600 and that included all tack and equipment). It was too good to be true. Now I just had to convince my parents!
After much begging and debate, the answer was still a solid no". I promised to pay them back and take care of all the expenses, including building a fence and a stall on our two acres of land (not much room for a horse, but I was determined to make it work).
I lost the battle. I was devastated as I'd grown quite attached to "Muffy" (that was her name). Sobbing, I went to my room and packed all of my horse-related collectibles into boxes and started hauling them to the basement. I didn't want them anymore. I didn't want to be reminded of my dream any longer.
My Dad came into my room as I was crying and packing and said "ok fine, you can get the horse. BUT, you have to pay me back and I better not have to end up taking care of her". I could not believe this was happening! It was November, just after my 17th birthday and I was a high school, Junior.
On Thanksgiving day (a very cold day at that), my dad, Uncle, and I got busy putting up a fence on 1/2 acre and Dad built me the cutest little free-standing stall for her. There wasn't running water, so we connected several hoses from the house so it would be easy to have water. He gave up some room in his tool shed for my tack box and feed bins.
By the end of November, Muffy came to live with us. It was one of the best days of my life. She was 12 years old at that time. I had the best year learning how to be a horse owner.
When it was time to start college. I didn't go away, I commuted about 30 minutes to a local college, so I was still able to care for her (1985-87). But then came the hard part.
I got a job in Columbus, OH and had to move. I hated leaving Muffy behind while I started my new venture, but my Dad agreed to take care of her until we could figure something out. I went home on the weekends to see her and this went on from 1987 to about 1989. By this time, I was also married, but still living in an apartment. I really wanted to start the transition of getting her close by, so I found a farmer who let me keep her there for a small boarding fee.
After I had my first baby in 1989, life got crazy and we also bought a small starter home. I was able to then move Muffy to board with a nearby family, who wanted to get into horses, until after I had my second child and went back to school to complete a nursing degree. She was in good hands with the boarding family and they loved her like their own. She loved children and anyone could ride her--she was the most bomb-proof horse ever. I visited and rode her every chance I could, which was very little, sadly.
In 1994, we built a house and barn on seven acres and Muffy finally came to live with me. I had access to trails, and fields and could ride her anytime I wanted. She was now 25 years old and healthy...as a horse! We were finally living the life I wanted as a horse owner nearly ten years later!
Then one day, in 2000, my most feared day happened. I could never believe how vital and lively Muffy always despite her age, so I knew every day with her was a gift.
Muffy was 30 years old. I went to feed her and found her lying on the ground. This wasn't unusual, she did it all the time. She loved to lay in the sun and roll around. She looked up at me and this time, she didn't get up. I fought and pulled and managed to get her onto her feet, but she was so weak and could barely walk.
I managed to lead her into the barn and ran and called the vet. He came right away, examined her, and told me she was suffering in pain and wouldn't make it through the night. I will never forget that day.
Crying like a baby, I knew what I had to do and that was let the vet put her down right then so she didn't have to suffer. It was one of the worst days of my life, but I cherish all the good times I had with her and how sweet and docile she always was.
I have bought and sold a few other horses before and after Muffy's passing, but it was never the same and I didn't bond with them except for Henry, a little shetland pony I bought for my kids for Christmas. That part of my life is over now and I'm at peace with that (photos are from 1985).