Tuesday, August 3, 2010

It's Complicated...

"You're a great warhorse, Sandy...believe in yourself!"

Had you asked me last week, after my trail ride with the Girls, or the lesson down at Curt's, that this week I'd have sold Sandy, I'd have laughed at you. Truly. Laughed. Out. Loud.

I don't know what made me post to my facebook profile: "Considering selling my boy" that evening. No clue. Just did it, with a heavy, downtrodden heart. A lack of space to do what I want...what I need...to do. My goal all along has been to transform hearts, not only of mustangs, but of the people who see them as worthless. Be honest with me. How many of you would have ever considered a mustang as a horse of value until you met Sandy and the others here?

Sky Bar's Chance, the pretty pinto

Last year, Val and her husband Dave stopped by to look at Sky Bar, the pinto gelding that I'd recently brought home from the corrals. Nice...but not what they needed. Dave was looking for a nice, mellow gelding to ride, and of course Sky Bar had yet to be started under saddle. Val's parting words had been, "If you ever decide to sell Sandy..." I think I laughed.

The moment I posted, the inquiries began. Selling Sandy? Really? Tell us more! Such an eruption of emails and messages...I'd never expected it. Sure, he's a great horse. A terrific horse! But I really hadn't anticipated such a quick response. I'd thought I'd have a few days to think it out...prepare myself...change my mind...
Darling and Sandy looking out over Lake Whatcom

After all, Sandy had been here through thick and thin. He'd gotten me over fears I didn't know I had. He taught Darling to ride. And transformed hearts...not just of those who'd thought mustangs couldn't accomplish what he had, but hearts of my young autistic friend, John, who over came his fears and reached out and touched Sandy when he met us out on the trail.

What the he!! had I been thinking?

It was 5:00...Val and Dave were due, but not here. Changed their minds! Yes? No. Just five minutes late. They were all smiles when they arrived. Val had seen my post on facebook, and I seriously don't think it had taken more than two minutes before she was writing to me. Anyone else? I'd have put off. But here was Val, telling me Dave was still, a full year later, looking for that perfect gelding.
We walked out into the pasture together. Sandy looked at us out of the corner of his eye. He'd just returned from over 2 hours of dragging that yellow colt around the trails, yet aside from that sideways look, he didn't give any indication of not being willing to go back to work.

The view from between brown ears; Sandy's first ride up above the valley.

I saddled my boy up as we chatted about his strengths and weaknesses. Dave is a farrier...a good hand on the ground, and a great admirer of Sandy's feet. I climbed on, rode a couple of small circles in the driveway, then offered to let Dave climb on board. His hands were soft and light, Sandy's nose was tucked into a horizontal position, and they walked and jogged back and forth. "He's so responsive," Dave said with admiration. Yes...yes, he is.
My mind had been racing since setting up this appointment. I had a cutting clinic coming up in September...followed by our first competition. It's what I'd been working toward, showing the cutting horse people that my little mustang could hold his own. But if he was sold? I pushed the thought from my head. If I was ever going to sell Sandy, this was the couple I wanted to have him. Hands down. They're thoughtful, understanding, and appreciative of the work I have into my boy.
So many people backed down the moment I told them the price I'd set. "I'm not asking a poor economy, half broke grade horse price," I told a couple of them. "You may be looking for a trail horse, but Sandy has training beyond that. Don't let his lack of pedigree fool you." That changed a lot of minds. There were honestly only two people I'd have considered letting Sandy go with...Val & Dave, or Canadian Cowgirl (yes, she did contact me!)

Sandy balking as Jay attempted to lead him into Curt's round pen in 2008.

Still...I found I was asking myself, "Did I really accomplish what I needed to with Sandy? He could go further...if I wanted to."

"We never really would have considered a mustang if we hadn't seen you with Sandy," Val was saying. Well...that answers that question then, doesn't it? Mission accomplished. Perhaps not my personal goals for glory in the cutting arena, but certainly Sandy had changed minds across the globe, as well as here close to home.

"We'd love to leave him with you until the clinic in September...if you wanted us to."


There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance...

There is a purpose to everything in God's world...and a season. As difficult as it is for me to say goodbye, I believe my season with Sandy has come to an end, and I can't think of a better family to send him to...where he can be loved and appreciated just as much as he is here. It doesn't matter to Sandy if he's cutting cows, though Dave said it may be fun to learn how to do some sorting or team penning, and Sandy would certainly be good at it. Most important to both Sandy & I is that he's cared for and loved, which he will be with Val & Dave. Plus...they're close, and I can see him when I need a fix. And they're leaving him with me for the summer...I'll have a few more weeks to love on my boy and prepare my heart to say goodbye.

And maybe? Maybe kick some quarter horse butt at the cutting in September!


Breathe said...

What a wonderful gift. You have a generous soul.

But of course, we knew that.

Paint Girl said...

You have accomplished so much with Sandy, and I know you would accomplish so much more if he stayed with you. I know this wasn't an easy decision to sell him and I know how much you care for that horse. But it is so good to know that he will be in really good hands and that you will get that "Sandy fix" whenever you want!
I have always been a believer in Mustangs, but I think seeing you with yours really made me realize that they can do it all and you have made my dream come true with Chance! She is going to kick some cow butt one day! Hopefully! We will all continue to show those Mustang non-believers how it is done!

Pony Girl said...

Sniff, sniff. Great post, you expressed your thoughts, hopes, and fears so well. I think you are doing the right thing, despite how hard it will be to see him go.
He's a really nice boy, I really enjoy riding with him on the trail and know he will make Dave very happy!

HBFG said...

Sandy is awesome! i am glad you get to "keep" him until the cutting show.
I loved watching the training video, your motorcycle cow is just hilarious!

Tracey said...

Breathe, thank you. Kind words...they soften the heart.

Hey, Girls...perhaps Dave & Val can come ride with us sometime?

HBFG, yes, he is :) And glad you enjoyed the video. Isn't that bull just too crazy? No matter the mustang, there will definitely be more hydrabull video. Maybe next year with Paint Girl and Chance!

CTG Ponies said...

Bittersweet but he's such a great ambassador!

Michelle said...

{Hugs} for you. I know it was a very difficult decision. I have made it twice this year. I find comfort in knowing I "chose" their next homes. Sounds like you did the same with Sandy.

Kristina Abbey Photography said...

Well written Tracey (as usual)! I, too, have done that once or twice before, but always changed my mind becuase I wasnt really ready to let them go. Thankfully, there is always that 'first right of refusal' that can be written into any bill of sale!

Christa said...

Tracey I have always thought that Mustangs were beautiful but mysterious horses that I would one day own but never be able to ride. After meeting you and watching your progress with Sandy I have made it my goal to one day own my very own Mustang gelding, when the time is right for me. You have shown so many that you can do with a Mustang anything you can with a Domestic and thats amazing! I am sad for you that you are letting Sandy go but so very happy that he is going to such a great home where he can teach others how wonderful Mustangs really are. I do hope that Val and Dave will keep us posted on how he is doing as I LOVE Sandy pictures! Hugs to you my friend♥

Crystal said...

Oh man, that must have been a hard decision, however it seems like the right people are going to take him home! Im sure you will miss him, but if hes not to far away you can go see him again, that will be nice.

Gina said...

Very heartfelt, I enjoy reading your blog. Thanks for sharing your personal feelings.

Parelli Central

allhorsestuff said...

Tracy, that is such a hard and yet fantastic decision you've made...that wonderful Sandy horse is going to change more lives now!AND kick cow butt in September!
I loved that video too...very intense. he was so clean and focused!
You take care~

Linda said...

WOW! What a big step, and it's awesome that they appreciate him as much as you do!! (And that you can see him whenever you want.) They're getting a good horse--a good horse is worth their weight in gold--bad economy or not.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Hah! I've never seen a bovine ATV before. How funny and cool at the same time. How does Sandy do with the real bovines?

Such a bittersweet situation, but sounds like he's going to a great new home...and you still get to show him off in September. Yay!


Tracey said...

Thank you all for the kindness you've shown. I'm sure most of you have had to face a difficult decision such as this at some point yourselves and know what I'm going through.

Lisa, isn't the hydrabull something else? We're hosting a cutting competition next month...NCHA rules and all...with a judge who's judged the nat'l futurity in Fort Worth! Should be loads of fun. And Sandy's not cut real cattle, but he's settled the herd and driven one from it without any problem.

Val said...

You are among other wonderful things a truly gifted writer! I was choked up through the entire thing, honestly we can't thank you enough for trusting us with your baby, I have no doubt that we will love and appreciate him as much as you do and of course you are ALWAYS welcome to come get your Sandy fix :)

Shirley said...

I hope Sandy wins their hearts as he has done all of ours. And kick butt on him at the cutting Tracey; Sandy can do it!

Katee said...

ohmygoodness! I go away for a couple days and you sell Sandy. Wow! You're making the right decision. His new owners are going to take him and spread the great word about mustangs. You can be sure that he'll be a wonderful ambassador for the breed. Now go out there and adopt some more. You know to email me if Steve Holt! ever needs to move, right????