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Monday, December 26, 2011

A time for goodbyes...

Forrest back at Farmstead
and checking out his new
neighbor, a Hanoverian
stallion named "Raf."
A month from today will be exactly one year since the first time I climbed onto Forrest's back in the tiny indoor at Farmstead and had one of the most magical rides of my life. I thought that by now, Forrest and I would (at least) be going in the direction of  establishing our career together as a formidable 3-day eventing team--if not already be well on our way. I thought that I'd have done a handful of clinics on him, maybe even a combined test or two, and be ready to spend our winter in Ocala doing the winter Area III events and gearing up for the season.

None of that happened.

I was reminded a few days ago by one of my friends that if you want to make God laugh, you should tell Him your plans. In this past year, I've learned that nothing else is more true. Of course, I should have learned this lesson long ago. I've made plenty of "big plans," only to have something completely unexpected happen: I was going to do a one-star on my Irish horse, Stormy, by the age of 16. When he suffered an injury and was out for that season, my new goal was to take a friend's horse, known as Ollie (another "redhead" that I've mentioned in a previous entry) to his first prelim, but instead he was sold before we got the chance. I thought that my former best friend, Sarah, and I would stay close our entire lives, but I haven't spoken a single word to her in almost four years.

"Fat Forrest"
Forrest was another one of those "big plans" that just didn't work out. Instead of continuing his career as an eventer with me, Forrest went back home to Farmstead to be sold to make room for more broodmares. It was heartbreaking to leave Forrest. I gave him one last hug and a kiss on his neck, and then said my final goodbyes. On the way home from dropping Forrest off back at Ken's, my mom and I stopped to buy some decorations for our barn Christmas party, and at the store she bought me a Pillow Pet horse who was--ironically--chestnut with a white star on his forehead. He was just like Forrest, except perhaps a little more round. I immediately named him "Fat Forrest" and he sits beside me now, acting as my muse as I write this difficult post.

My New Years resolution for 2012 is to have a little more faith, and not make any "big plans." My mother getting stepped on by Forrest and spending my entire summer caring for her was not part of the "big plan." My old event horse, Stormy, coming out of retirement at the age of fourteen and going better than ever was not part of the "big plan." And neither was a dark bay weanling named Padraig who is now vacating Forrest's old stall, and he is the best thing that has happened to me all year--planned or otherwise. I still miss Forrest every day, but I'm sure that everything is going to work out just fine.

Padraig is not the only silver lining to Forrest's departure. I also must say that I feel extremely proud of myself for what I did manage to accomplish in my time with Forrest... He went from being spooky and herd sour to hacking out alone and (mostly) behaving himself. He learned to stand tied instead of rearing up, flipping over and running away. Instead of spooking at even the sight of water in the distance, he will now not only walk through water but stand in it quietly. He also is a perfect gentleman loading and travelling in the trailer. Not to mention the leaps and bounds in his training under saddle, especially in the dressage phase.

I plan to start a new blog about Padraig very soon, and I will add the link to that to this blog. Thank you to everyone who has followed this blog, and I wish you all a Happy New Year!



  1. Goodbyes are hard, and plans don't always amount to much.

    My very wise friend always reminds me -
    "Good news, bad news, too soon to tell..."

    I hope that you find a new partner to work with while you wait for Padraig to grow up. He's a cutie. I'll be on the lookout for your new blog. :)

    Happy New Year to you!

  2. Good luck in the new year! i look forward to your new blog and seeing the progress you are making. Oh and btw the progress you made with Forrest is HUGE!!

  3. I can relate to a lot of this post....
    I guess we do have to take the good with the bad, and just keep pushing thru.
    Looking forward to the new blog!

  4. Hi from Italy =)
    I'm a show jumping lady rider
    really nice blog!

    keep in touch