I hope this weekend has been restful for everyone who reads this!
After a tear-jerking story from Miss Anne Leueen from Horse Addict about her gorgeous horse Tommie, I was “inspired” to write and share my own story of a horse that has forever changed my life.
I can’t remember exactly when I met him, but I remember my first time really noticing him because I wrote about it. It was December 31th of 2014. My sister and I went to our neighbor’s barn and she asked if we wanted to brush one of her boarder’s horses. Of course, we jumped at the Chance (and you’ll see why the “C” is capitalized soon enough). Miss J brought him out of the barn and I immediately liked this horse that was walking toward my sister and me. I mean, he was a horse so of course, I liked him, lol!
He was put in the wash rack and Anna and I got to work at grooming him. He was dirty, as all horses are, and he soon put his head down and began sleeping as we curried, brushed and picked out his feet. As we groomed him Miss J explained a little bit (no pun intended, lol!) about him.
His name was Chance. He was an Off-Track-Thoroughbred (discovered later on because of complicated matters), and he was around eight or nine years old, a little over 16hh’s tall.
As she explained things about him my sister and I listened eagerly.
Then when Anna walked into the barn to ask Miss J if she wanted us to put him in his stall or paddock I stayed back with Chance to finish off his grooming, giving his already gorgeous coat the last touching-up of shining.
Then it happened. My stomach flipped with what felt like a million butterflies. I looked at Chance and he looked into my eyes and I suddenly “knew”. Let me know if you have ever experienced a feeling of butterflies with the horse of your dreams. And when I went home that day all I could think about was the look that Chance and I gave each other. It was nothing like I had ever felt before and I never stopped thinking about it.
Every time we went to the barn I would immediately go to say hi to Chance first, tell him I missed him, which I did whenever I wasn’t around him. And every single time we would leave the barn I would tell Chance that I would be seeing him next time.
Then one day Miss J said that he bucked his owner off and she sprained her ankle. Soon after that his owner contemplated putting him up for sale or not.
Is it awful of me that I prayed for Chance to be put up for sale after that?
I had been using the first couple months that I met Chance coming up with plans and putting aside money to buy him, up for sale or not. And at this point, I spoke with my mother about buying him and I just had to talk to my father about it before I really took the “first step”.
Anna and I visited the barn very often and one day as we groomed Chance I did what I never thought I would do because I always thought it “weird” (I never experienced a love for a horse that I felt for Chance at this point): I kissed Chance’s nose and, again, I got the butterflies feeling in my stomach. Looking into his eyes I knew he knew that I loved him.
I whispered into his ear that I loved him and he flicked his ear back to listen to me.
I was determined that even though he bucked his owner off and bucked more after that that I could change him. I studied horse training and watched countless training videos, took notes, talked to my now sister-in-law who has owned and trained horses before, asking her for advice on what to do first. I found trainers that I could send him to while I took lessons to brush up on my horsemanship skills so he could get figured out.
Miss J had told us that Chance was officially up for sale and I squealed in happiness when I got home having heard the news. So I continued my research, continued to educate myself in horse training, horseback riding lessons and spending several hours a day daydreaming about what I would do with Chance when he was officially mine. I wanted to do try Jumping and a little bit of Dressage, but mostly just trail ride until I got skilled enough to try anything else.
Then one day Anna and I went to the barn and Miss J said that she was given Chance by his owner.
I won’t lie and say that I was very excited when I heard the news. I was very disappointed discouraged and I literally felt my heart rip in two when I was home afterward. And I would also be lying if I said that I didn’t cry that night.
Afterward, though, I realized that it was for the best that I hadn’t bought Chance because seeing how happy Miss J was with him, I couldn’t possibly stay disappointed and upset. So I always told myself that no matter what Chance would always be near me and I could see him often and he would be at the barn forever. Plus, being Miss J’s horse, so many things were found out about him (both in his health and bloodlines) that no one could have ever found out except Miss J. Turns out, he practically had royalty coursing through his veins!
June 4th of 2016 my sisters and I went to the barn and met Miss J’s leaser of Chance. Chance wasn’t feeling all too well that day; he was kinda down and Miss J said he was coming down with what she thought was a cold the day before. Nothing that he won’t recover from, she was positive. Before leaving that day I looked at Chance in his stall and said “Goodbye, Chance. I hope you feel better, buddy.” And then I left.
I cried the next day when I was told that Chance was put down that night. I cried because the last words I said weren’t “I love you, Chance,” but “Goodbye”. I cried for Miss J; she had already lost two of her horses under a year of each other.
We still don’t know what happened to Chance. He simply took a turn for the worst. Miss J said she had never seen a horse so sick before putting him down, and she told us afterward that even if she didn’t choose euthanasia that Chance wouldn’t have been able to be one hundred percent “normal” again. He wouldn’t have been comfortable; he probably wouldn’t have been ridden again; he wouldn’t be able to enjoy life like he did when he wasn’t sick.
And even as I cry as I write this, Miss J made the best choice anyone could ever make for their horse with little chances: she put him down. He was no longer in any pain anymore and could enjoy running in wide open pastures that had no limits.
Chance couldn’t have had such an amazing owner as Miss J. She always puts her horse’s needs before hers and works her tail (again, no pun intended!) off to keep them comfortable and happy.
Chance taught me to love every horse you come across, even though it might never truly be a horse you can call yours. He taught me to take every minute you have with horses and soak it in and never let it go. He taught me what it really meant to have a Heart Horse.
I will always remember you, Chance and all that you have taught me. I will take everything I learned from you and apply it to my first horse when I buy it in the future.
How much it pains me to write this, it was his time. No matter who owned him, what could have been done to save him, it would have always been his time to go.
You will never be forgotten, Chance. You are always in my heart as my first Heart Horse♥