“Can you find us a horse for our daughter?”
Every instructor dreads hearing this. Sometimes it’s for a child without experience; rarely it’s for the perfect family who will be a forever home.
This is a forever family. Their daughter is a Home School student of mine and the family planned to move to a farm in Oakland County.
“We have a budget. We’ll pay you to search for a horse for us. We want something safe, sound, and usable for our daughter and us to ride. We want a horse who will go English and Western and will just play with us. Someone like one of your horses–a babysitter. Kind of like Twist.”
Oof. A kick in the gut. Because there’s NOBODY like Twist. Twist is safe and sane; can be used for any and all students from beginners to advanced; is push-button with his aids–walk; trot; canter; lead-changes; does tricks; has been to Meijer Gardens with us; done parades; been a Therapy Horse–he’s done it all.
I rolled the idea around in my mind and came to an uncomfortable conclusion. I wouldn’t trust most horses with their precious, wonderful, talented daughter. She’s the center of their world. What if the horse I found turned out to have hidden problems? What if there was a physical issue or training problem that I didn’t see during the trial ride? Even with a ten day trial, a lot could go wrong.
I couldn’t help them buy a horse.
The next time they came, I broke the news.
“I worry about helping you horse shop. I’ve found horses for other clients and sometimes after they’re delivered we learn they weren’t a good fit. I don’t know if I’d be comfortable putting your daughter on a horse I don’t know inside and out. I don’t want to put you in a bind, but I can’t find what you want.”
My student looked near tears.
“But I know you want someone like Twist. Instead of someone like him, would you like to own Twist?”
The mom cleared her voice. “How much would you want for him?”
“If you take care of Vet costs to have him cleared of lameness and have his shots taken care of, you can have him.”
They happily, tearfully accepted.
Twist is, for the time being, at a facility (ironically) called the Fowler* Center.
If they decide they don’t want him anymore for any reason, he comes right back here, no questions asked, even if it’s on three legs.
I miss him already–but he’s a good boy, and I know he’ll do me proud.
*Sarah Fowler is the name of the Instructor here at Firefly Farm