Sergeant Major has been here a little more than a week, and is settling in admirably. Is he lonely, without equine companionship for the first time in his life? He is. Is he pacing the fence line looking for a way out and calling out for a friend? He is not. If there are horses more suited to solitude than others, Sergeant seems to be one of them.
That said, we still plan to get him a friend. We’ve been looking, but are in no hurry. It’s more important it be the right horse. Sergeant is only five years old, and what is called “green broke”. To bring in another young horse, and us as green as we are, would be ill advised, to say the very least. Conversely, we don’t want to take on a geriatric horse, either. As much as I admire people who take in horses at the end of their lives, providing them with comfort and dignity (and I admire them tremendously), we lack the expertise and the resources to play that part.
We are seeking a horse from the age of 10-15, mare or gelding, experienced with many riders, preferably including children. And, you know me, I would like him/her to be dúagwýn. Not much to ask, is it?
As it happens, I have a horse in mind.
This whole, crazy horsey adventure began when The Man called me over to look at an online listing for a horse free to a good home. Now, I’d been fighting this tide for some time, knowing that both The Man and Stepdaughter the Younger were chomping at the bit (sorry) to add a horse or two to our home. I knew what all wives/mothers know: the lion’s share of the care would fall to me. So, I dug in my heels, saying things I didn’t mean, like “in five years”, and “when you can prove you’re serious about riding”, hoping the passion would wane.
So, when The Man called me over to look at a listing entitled “horse free to a good home”, my first thought was, “Oh, shit. We’re there.”
Then…I saw her.
Can you stand it?! Look at her!! As our own misterproperty gushed so pithily, I bet she is a unicorn with a retractable horn and she poops rainbows.
In a split second (I swear this is true), the door flew open to the possibility of a horse. (How the door flew open to the possibility of two is another story…) We sent an email to the address provided, but received no answer. I was crushed.
The thing about doors is, once they’re open, they’re not so easily closed. We looked at other horses and soon heard of Sergeant from a friend. That was pretty much love at first sight, and the rest you know. But, what of Ella (for that is her name)?
They wrote us back about four weeks ago, saying she was to be evaluated by a college for their riding program. Because she has some arthritis in one knee, they would take her for a month to see if she was up to their riding program. If they found it was too much for her, she would be returned.
Hope! Cruel hope!! We wrote them back with pictures of the barn and Sergeant, letting them know we were waiting for her with bated breath, prepared to give her a comfortable, active, yet gentle life. We haven’t heard anything back, but I am holding out hope that we may yet hear, and that she might yet come to live with us. She is very experienced in a number of riding disciplines, and experienced with children. She is ten years of age.
So, where does the post heading come into it? Her name is Ella, and while I’m all for continuity, that name is too similar to a number of family/friend names to be practical. In keeping with our naming of the farm, I thought to name her “Gwyn”, the Welsh word for “white”. I was ruminating in the car one day about what the long form of her name might be, and how she would adapt to a change of name when it came to me in a flash of inspiration.
Oh, I was extremely pleased with myself, make no mistake. Surely I am the cleverest creature ever born. Now, of course, we just needed the horse. The cleverest name in the world is useless without the horse to go with it.
The Man is humouring my obsession with Gwynderella; I’m reasonably sure he has given her up for lost. My love for long shots refuses to let her go, however. If, on February 28, the date of their email, the college had not yet come to pick her up for her month-long evaluation, then time has not yet run out, and I refuse to let her go. (Yes, I have parsed that email quite closely. Why do you ask?)
I will keep you apprised of any developments, of course. It will be difficult for me to seriously consider another horse until enough time has passed that she is surely gone, or until we are informed that the college has taken her. Until then…