Today the final part of my wish came true. It was a little wish that was wished in 2014. It was a wish that a mom made. A mom that felt guilty for even wishing that very thing for herself. I was a mom that felt so blessed already that I dare not ask for a thing more.
First, I have to tell you the backstory. You see, All of my life, as long as I could remember, I wanted a horse of my own. Every birthday, every Christmas I would ask for a horse. My parents always told me that I could have one when I turned 18. When that day finally came, no horse.
I did not have the opportunity to make my dream come true until I was 31 years old. That is the year that I met Snickers. He was a hot bay Polish Arabian with big heart. People told me that he was crazy and all he could do was run. He had no manners and was not a good horse. I rode him once and I knew this was the one. We bonded immediately. I worked with him and he became a fantastic horse with manners and a passion for doing tricks and showing off. He loved to communicate with sign language and was willing to do whatever I asked of him. This is Snickers and I the first Christmas that I had him. We were dressed up for caroling on Christmas Eve. He wore antique sleigh bells around his neck all night as we sang. He was a good sport.
Snickers and I were together every day. We went out on trail if it was over 100 degrees and in the rain. We had so much fun together. It was a friendship that lasted 18 years. He understood when I became a mom and couldn't ride everyday anymore. He moved with me twice as I went through my divorce. I came to see him every day whether I rode or not. As soon as I would arrive at the ranch, he would give me a loud welcoming whinny. He was my best friend.
Then, it happened. The day that every horse owner fears. He had colic. He was too old to put through surgery. I had to say goodbye to my best friend forever. He was 26 when I lost him. It broke my heart in two. 💔
He passed away on September 8 and my daughter had just started middle school. I decided that I would not replace him for a few years. I decided that I needed to just work hard and build my business so that I could take care of my daughter. Knowing that middle school years are hard I decided that my horsing days were over for quite some time. I worked, and worked and worked. I gained weight from sitting at my desk all of the time. I missed being outside.
Every day, I had to wait in the school parking lot to pick my daughter up from school. I decided that instead of sitting there for 1/2 an hour, I would walk and get some exercise and be outdoors. So walk I did. Next to the school is a large antique tractor museum. I enjoyed walking through there every day. There were hills to climb and so much to look at. Out in the back field was an old empty pipe coral. I would imagine as I walked having a horse again. I wanted to ride around that museum. I wondered if they would ever rent out that coral to a mom that wanted a horse so badly. I would imagine riding up and down those hills looking at the tractors from the back of a horse.
I worked my walks up to an hour per day and was getting into shape again. It was now 2014 and my daughter was a sophomore in high school. As I hiked around the Museum grounds my horse dream came back to mind as it often did. I thought about Snickers. I thought about how tired I was. I was working 12 to 14 hours per day, 7 days a week. I closed my eyes and tried to remember how it felt to ride. It had been over 5 years since I lost Snickers. I started to cry. I loved being a mom, I loved my business and my house. But there was still a huge hole in my heart. I'm just supposed to have a horse in my life. So, I made a wish. I felt that I did not deserve to ask for anything. We were so blessed. But I wished my wish anyway. I wished for a horse to somehow find a way into my life and that someday I would ride that horse around the museum trails.
The tears were still falling so I walked with my head down looking at my feet and the rocks as my feet passed over them. Something caught my eye. It was a small piece of broken concrete. I don't know why but I picked it up. Just a piece of trash, but I had to pick it up. I could not leave without it. I turned it over and and gasped as I saw a two letter word impressed into the concrete. It was a word that I had not said in over 5 years. It simply said "Ho". It was my shortened version of the word "Whoa". I had even taught the dog to "ho". I started to sob! Did this mean that it was time to start looking for a horse?
I came home and posted on Facebook. "It's the Chinese Year of the Horse. Maybe this is the year that I will replace my beloved Snickers."
That night I had a dream. I dreamt that I was at the old ranch where Snickers and I had so many years together. Snickers was gone and one of the cowboys came up to me, looked me in the eye and said "Sweet little gray mare." and then he walked away. That dream stuck with me. Those words stuck with me too.
A couple of days later a friend that I knew in high school contacted me. She said that she saw my post and that she had a horse that was up for adoption. It was her daughter's horse. His name was Corey. Same name as my boyfriend. How about that? Could this be the wish come true? Corey is a big tall chestnut thoroughbred that was her daughter's horse. She had him as a show horse but was not riding much anymore as she was in college.
I was to meet him on June 10. So I called the boarding stable near by to secure a stall just in case. I got my old tack out and polished everything up. I was so excited to meet Corey that I cried when I saw my dear old friend. We both cried.
We got to the ranch and I met Corey. Isn't he handsome?
And the funny thing was that the horse in the stall next to him was a little gray Arabian mare. I rode Corey. He was a nice horse, but it was not a good fit. He did not feel right to me. It just was not right. I could not put my finger on it, but I knew that I could not take him. So with more tears I declined to adopt him.
The next day, I called the stable and told the trainer that I would not be needing the stall after all. See asked me to come meet her that day. She said that there was a lonesome horse there whose owner had gone to China for a couple of years and that this horse could be leased. Would I be interested? Ok. So, I went. Why not? She took me down the row of stalls and we stopped at the stall with the lonely horse...A Sweet Little Gray Mare. Her name was KhalaBlu and she was a half Arab.
She told me to come back the next day, June 12 to ride KhalaBlu. She wanted to see if I could ride and I wanted to see if Khala and I were going to be a good team. I was so nervous. I hadn't ridden on trail in 5 1/2 years. Did I even have my horse legs at all?
I could hardly sleep that night. I was so excited! The next morning came and I headed to the ranch. For the last 10 years of Snickers' life I rode bareback. I now had to remember how to saddle up with a Western saddle. Somehow I got through the test and we rode the trail. It felt so good! We got back to the ranch and I was approved. She said that she would make some phone calls and see if she could make a lease deal.
The next day was June 13, 2014. It ended up being the worst day of my life. My daughter had not been feeling well. She was tired and was very thirsty all of the time. She had a doctor's appointment because I wanted her blood sugar tested for diabetes, just in case.
When the doctor told us that my daughter's blood glucose level was 499, my heart sank. She has Type 1 Diabetes, also known as Juvenile Diabetes which is an autoimmune disease. We had to go straight to the hospital. We spent 5 days there learning how our new life would be. She would now have to inject insulin for everything that she ate except protein. We had to learn how to count carbs and check blood sugar. We had to learn how to deal with low blood sugar levels and what to do if she passed out. We were scared to death. She was very brave. The girl that hated the sight of a needle was now having to stick one into her skin 10 to 15 times per day. Now, my wishes became very big. I wished for a cure. I wished that her blood sugar would be stable. I wished for a miracle. I wished it was me instead of her.
We got out of the hospital on June 17. On June 18, I got a call from the trainer that the horse could be leased and the price was very affordable. I just did not think that the time was right. I needed to concentrate on my daughter's illness. I told her that I needed to think about it for a day or so because of some personal things that were happening. I had decided to not lease the horse. Then, my best friend said something to me. She pointed out that I work harder than anyone she knew. She said that I was working my life away. She said that my daughter's diagnosis is a huge shock and an enormous responsibility that I will always worry about. She told me that Khala came into my life at exactly that time because I was going to need her. She said to lease the horse for a month and just see how it went. If it was too much, I could discontinue. So, her advice was taken and I leased the horse.
I needed it..badly.
My daughter turned out to be strong and responsible. She takes care of her condition beautifully. I am so proud of her. She rose up to the challenging situation and kept excelling in school. She still got straight "As" and did a great job as editor of the school yearbook. So, I kept leasing the horse.
I had a great summer with KhalaBlu, I got my horse legs back and felt like a found a piece of myself that was lost for a long time. In October I got the news that the owner was coming home in early November. She is such a special person and was ok with me staying on as a lessor, but I would not be able to ride as often. I knew that a wonderful thing was soon coming to an end.
On October 22, I rode KhalaBlu and then ran over to the school to pick my daughter up. It was a very hot day and I was out doing my usual hike when one of the school security guards that I had come to know came by on an electric cart. He had just re-located a rattlesnake over by the creek so that it would not be near the kids at the school. He asked me if I wanted a ride because it was so hot. I warned him that I smelled like a horse, but I would like that ride.
He then told me that the school nurse had horses and that I should talk horses with her sometime. That was cool. Ok. I was happy to have that ride. It was close to 100 that afternoon.
The very next day, I got a phone call. It was the school nurse! She told me that my daughter had just experienced a low blood sugar and that she was ok, but I needed to know. We discussed that issue and just before we hung up I quickly said, "I hear that you have horses". She told me that her girls used to show horses and that they only had one left. In fact they were looking for a home for him. Was I interested? I got the chills. I asked where he was stabled. He was stabled at the same ranch as KhalaBlu, One row down from her. I asked what breed. Polish Arabian. Just like Snickers. My favorite breed. What were the chances?
She told me to go meet him. Ride him. If I liked him, he was mine. Free.
The next day we met a tall, very skinny chestnut Arabian with a chopped off mane. His name was Red. This is our first meeting.
The next day, I rode him. He felt so much like Snickers. I knew that this was my horse. We adopted him on October 27. We both have worked very hard to get into shape together. He did a better job than I did. The photo on the left is him was taken the first week and the second photo was about a month ago.
In the last 2 1/2 years, my daughter flourished and was salutatorian at her high school graduation. She produced to great school yearbooks. She's in college now and on the way to becoming a high school biology teacher. She tutors and has a fashion business on Poshmark. She has a fantastic boyfriend that I totally approve of. They have been together for two years. She is dealing with her T1D beautifully. I am so proud. She has shown an incredible strength as a young woman. Things worked out and it turned out being ok to bring a horse into my life when I did even if it felt like my life was upside down. Things happened in such an uncanny way that I cannot help but think that it happened the way that it was supposed to.
That brings us to today, the last part of the wish. About a year ago, I moved Red to the ranch were Snickers lived and passed away. I went home. This ranch is within riding distance of the museum where I spent so many years walking. But, there is a problem. There is a huge fence and a locked gate. The only way to get there is to ride on a narrow traffic busy street. It just isn't safe, so I never tried it. So close, but so far away.
Today, we decided to ride near the museum and for some reason, my riding buddy wanted to go across the pasture and see if there were any holes in the fence that we could squeeze through. There was! Someone cut a hole in the fence with wire cutters and it was wide enough for a horse to pass through.
So today, the day before Mother's Day, I got to ride MY dream horse through the museum grounds. The very wish that was wished by a mom who didn't think that she deserved to even ask for a thing in 2014 came true today. As I passed the spot where I found the little concrete shard that says "HO", I simply said to the universe, "Thank you".