December 9, 2008

thundering over a hazel hedge

This morning, when I woke up, I was not a horse owner. Now, as I get ready to go to bed, I am a horse owner. This remarkable turn of events is so unfathomable and enormous that I'm having a hard time even being affected by it. As though surely it cannot be true. 

Cookie

Someday, maybe one year from now -- or five, or ten -- I will look back on this day as monumental and huge. After all, I have wanted to own my own horse my entire life. And now I have one. Now I have my own horse! Sorry, but I don't actually believe that last sentence. I could repeat it fifty times and it would not seem any more real. 

This opportunity first presented itself early in the fall, when I got to ride Cookie after helping her owner make a sale video to send to a potential buyer. (She rode her through all her gaits to show off her movement to a woman potentially coming in from Idaho). I liked her so much that the owner invited me to use her in lessons. In those first lessons, my instructor commented how pretty we were as a pair, and we began to talk -- jokingly -- of my buying her. After awhile, most people at the barn -- including the owner -- took to calling Cookie "my horse." 

Knowing my precarious financial situation -- my once full-time job had just been reduced to half, and I was still scrambling to find other work -- the owner let me use her for free, figuring it was one less horse she had to worry about riding. I secretly began to wonder if buying her was a possibility, but her price -- which had just been reduced to $5000 -- was way too steep. I lived in fear of the day someone else expressed interest in purchasing her from under me.

Because of the dire economic climate, I had been lucky all autumn not to have any other interested riders. But four days ago, on Saturday, my luck ran out. A woman from Seattle had asked for more information and wanted to come down and take a look. 

The owner and I sat down in her kitchen and she made her proposal: a sharply reduced price, and the offer to continue to work for free in exchange for free board. Plus the opportunity to pay only 10% down and make payments -- interest free -- for as long as it takes to pay off. Although I agonized about it all weekend, my mind was already made up in that kitchen. And now I have a horse. 

My horse. MY horse!


IM001992

IM001990

(That last one strikes me as the horse equivalent of the drunken celebrity paparazzi photo. As if Cookie would like to shove a hand in the camera lens, or maybe give the photographer the finger.)


 

 

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