There's been an awful lot of stuff going on the last week. Last week I got a call from a little girl (ok, she's 16 years old but in my world that is still a little girl) who was interested in buying Tuff Toad. She lives in Virginia and when I answered the phone she had the quietest, shyest little voice and I at first thought, "No way - she'll never be able to handle a young horse like Toad." But the more we talked the more it sounds like she's the perfect person for Toad. She wants a horse to do jumping with and maybe some eventing. She's a teenager so she has a lot of energy and will no doubt keep Toad working a lot more than I am able to. It was a very difficult decision because Toad is such a great horse now, but I've been feeling for a couple months now that Toad really wants more than what I have to offer. I can offer her being a pet and doing some low level local schooling shows. But she wants room to run (we don't have any pastures big enough for her to really run and no track or any place for her to run under saddle) and she wants to go out and compete. She has the drive and temperament to make a great competition horse. So, that's where she is headed.
I am so incredibly proud of how well she's done over the past 15 months that I've had her. It made me feel very good to have my vet say "You did a great job with her. You have really done right by her." Especially because my vet is so heavily involved in horse advocacy and rescue, it was nice to have my efforts recognized.
Yesterday a vet we'd never met before from Pilchuck came out to do the pre-purchase exam for the girl in Virginia. I was a little worried because we'd never done any flexion tests with Toad and I didn't know how well she'd do for that. Flexion tests involve the horse standing still in the arena while a vet manually bends their leg and holds it in that position for a period of time, then they drop the leg and as soon as they do you have to run up and down the arena with them in hand. Well, two things - I wasn't sure how Toad would handle standing still while someone held onto her bent leg for a few minutes, and I'd never run in-hand with her so I was hoping I wouldn't get killed (that means running with her running next to me). A lot of factors made me nervous about this - the fact that 15 months ago you couldn't do *anything* with her back legs because she was so defensive and dangerous about her hind end. And that when I first got her the minute she walked in the arena she'd start jumping around and rearing and trying to run away. Granted I knew she is now a totally different horse - we just hadn't tried doing these things together yet.
Well, in true Toad form she was perfect for the test. She stood completely still and relaxed while the vet flexed and held her legs (even her back legs!) and the first time we ran in-hand back and forth down the arena she looked at me sideways like "What're we doing, Mom? Are we racing? Playing? Working? How should I react to this?" By the fourth time we ran in-hand up and down the arena she was all relaxed and knew exactly what she should be doing. The vet loved her! She said Toad is in great shape and that she is a very sweet and impressive horse. I have to admit that I had a moment today where I was singing the old Pearl Jam song "Black" to myself, "I know someday you'll have a beautiful life ... I know you'll be a star ... in somebody else's sky but why oh why can't it be mine???" But the reality is I'm never going to be an eventer and I'm old and creaky and tired and Toad deserves a young, energetic kid to take her as far as she can go in life.
Trainer K and I went to visit a Lipizzan/Quarter horse mix yesterday down in Gig Harbor. That cheered me up a little bit. He was a sweet horse with an amazing temperament under saddle. Seriously, he was like an old schoolhorse packer under saddle and he's still green and only 6 years old. He is big and super strong and solid and the opposite of Toad in his build but he's kind of goofy and friendly and sweet like Toad. My daughter immediately took one look at him and said, "He's definitely the next Toadie!" Then he tried to eat her hair. We'll see. I don't have any time to see him again in the next two weeks and he might sell before then so he may not be for me. But if he doesn't sell by the time we're available to go all the way down there again I will spend more time with him and then decide if I'm going to make an offer.
On a completely different note this is currently my favorite song and I love the video too because it reminds me of my life in the mid-1980's. It reminds me of old friends like Tina, Hayden, Hayden's best friend, Erik (whatever happened to him?) and Joey Kline, Arne, Jason, etc. etc. It reminds me of bedrooms in hundred year old houses with Christmas lights and hanging dried roses and draping scarves over the window and old guitars and vintage clothes and walking around the Ave. in bare feet. There's nowhere in Seattle like that any more because times change and city's change. But it makes me happy to see people who look exactly the same way twenty five years later.