(The pictures of Joel & me riding Norris were taken on Friday, 9/21. We went out to the barn to brush him & I needed my last ride on him!) It is so very hard when you have an extra horse and not enough riders. It is the case with my Norris. I haven’t ridden him in a long time. I got Charlie because he is younger, very laid back personality, & gaited. Because of my lower back problems, a gaited horse does not give you the jolting ride of a prancing, trotting horse. Norris is a fast-stepping horse that has quick movements. Since he is 26+ years, Joel & I decided to semi-retire him. I played a lot with him from the ground. Joel occasionally rode him (but felt that he was a little too heavy to ride him all the time & he also has his own horse, Cutter), & I had a few friends who came out when they could to ride & exercise him. It was getting increasingly harder & harder for those friends to come out due to their busy schedules. I felt so guilty when we rode out on the trails & he had to stay behind in the stall. Our barn has turn-out, but not large areas where he could run & kick up his heels for hours with another horse. It is so hard finding a place to semi-retire a horse where he will be safe, taken care of, & allowed to be a horse to live out the rest of his days.
My daughter Erin had talked about our horses to one of her friends. The friend contacted her family in Maryland & told them that we were trying to find a place for Norris. They offered their home to Norris. Robin’s 12 year old niece, Sarah, had just lost her pony. They have a few acres on their property which is fenced in that would be ideal for my boy. He would also have a girlfriend, Willow. She is a 3-year old mare that was rescued & cannot be ridden. This sounded like the best thing that we could do for him! I know this, even as I am writing this though the tears are falling. I miss having him greet me when I come into the barn & nuzzling me! He took care of me on the trails for a lot of years, my sure-footed boy, & never once tried to get me off of his back.
We left early on Saturday. Here is the video of “The Poopy Walk.” When we trailer our horses, we put shipping boots on their legs down to their hoofs to protect them. It’s comical that when they start to walk, they pick up their back feet – I say that they walk like a baby with a “poopy diaper!”
It took 4 hours to get to our destination from Pittsburgh. When Joel took Norris out of the trailer, the little girl’s face (Sarah) broke into such a happy smile (just like mine does when I go out to the barn to be with them!). They showed me where he & Willow have a stall enclosure where they can come in & out as they want to. They will be fed in this enclosure. I gave him a teary hug, & Joel let him go. He was off & running with his tail curled up over his back, his head held proud, & snorting to his new friend, Willow.
(Tuesday, 9/25/07) I have gotten some feedback that Sarah has already ridden Norris around with supervision & that he gets brushed & groomed every day. I’m so happy that this is working out, really I am. I just can’t help the waterworks! I just start tearing up when I think about him. We were worried how Cutter, Joel’s horse, would be in not having Norris around. Those 2 had bonded from the time that Joel brought Cutter into our family. Cutter is finally bonding with Charlie without bullying him so much. Joel promised to take me to visit with Norris & his new family a couple of weeks after my surgery. I think that once I see for myself that he is being taken care of & loved, then I will feel so much better over this. Here are some pictures of where he is now living.
(Actually, now that I have put this down in writing, I do feel a little better. I know in my heart that I did the right thing for Norris & that is more important than my tears. I did not abandon him, he will not be stuck in a stall. Now he can run free & just be a horse!!)