Thursday, May 12, 2016

Goodbye to Mooch

Have you ever had to come to grips with the fact that the way you feel about your horse is not the way everyone feels about horses?  Have you ever run smack into the realization that you're actually pretty judgmental about people who don't make their horse the Number One Priority?

That's where I'm at right now.  Ethan decided to give his horse away and I'm having a hard time with it.  I've never dealt with change very well.  I don't like surprises.

First, there's my emotional attachment to the animal which is totally clouding my judgment about all of this.  I absolutely love that little guy.  For reasons I don't need to go into here, I haven't been able to spend much time with him lately, and I was looking forward to being able to snuggle him when I get home from work and get some horsey time in before leaving in the morning.  Maybe Ethan is right that it's too much for us to handle right now, but I had this rosy image in my mind of throwing on wellies with my pajamas and dumping water buckets, or investing in a good set of Carharts to get out there in the snow. Hard work, but it's what I've always wanted.  I looked forward to bringing Tucker home for the weekend so we could ride through the trails together. I have been humming along thinking this horse would be in my backyard in a matter of months, hopefully along with a mini long-eared companion or two.  Those plans have changed, and the disappointment feels like a punch in the gut.  Maybe I'm being a brat here, and I'm pouting a little because I'm not getting what I wanted.

There's also the fact that I was left out of this decision-making process entirely.  He has his reasons for this, like them or not, but I can't help but feel like the rug has been yanked out from underneath me.  It's not my horse.  I know that.  Ultimately this was his decision, and I probably would have tried to talk him out of it, and I'm sure he knows that, and that's part of why he waited until there was nothing I could do about it to fill me in.  And he knew I would be upset, and we all know that the male brain seeks to avoid these situations at all costs.  But it feels a bit like a betrayal, as much as that seems like a really dramatic way to put things.

And here's the part where I'm being judgmental.  I don't like the fact that he lost interest in this hobby and moved on to something else, and the horse has just been discarded like a pair of old rollerblades.  I would never do that.  Or would I?  I did sell a horse who was mine at one point.  I've ridden many horses that were for sale and helped them move on to other homes.  I know that not every horse is a one-owner horse. In fact, I know that most horses have several owners over their lifetimes.  And I obviously wouldn't disown any of my horse friends if they decided to market their horses for sale.  People's needs and interests change and sometimes a new home is the best thing for horse and owner.  Rationally, I know all of that.  And it doesn't make me feel better about this in the least.

Maybe part of it is that I know nothing about the home he's going to, which makes me nervous.  I have a tendency to assume the worst about the unknown.  I have been told that it will be a good situation for the horse, that his life will improve, and at the very least I can say that he'll be getting worked more consistently.  I should take everything at face value.  But there's also no contract, no right of first refusal, no guarantee that down the road this horse will have a safe place to land.  Things happen, horses get sold and resold, I've seen how the best intentions can end up going horribly wrong. Ethan's inexperience with the horse world makes it difficult to just blindly trust his judgment on all this. Maybe that makes me a bad girlfriend, but there you have it.

I should look at this as a good thing.  Now there will be no more opportunity for conflict when I disagree with some decision Ethan's made about his horse.  I won't have to step in with my two cents ever again, and he won't have to feel criticized.  Horses are now my thing, not our thing.  But part of me is mourning that.  So much of our relationship developed around horses.  Our first date was a hunter pace.  You can go back through this blog and find many adventures of Tucker and Mooch.  All of that is gone now, and it makes me sad.  I used to love that Ethan wasn't waiting for me to get home at night, because he was at the barn too.  As Ethan has ridden less and less lately, I've seen that familiar conflict developing.  I spend too much time at the barn, and spend too much money on the horse, and all I care about is horses.  I've been down this road before.  I can't help feeling like I know where this is headed.

So much of my identity is defined by my horse ownership.  If I'm not talking about Tucker, I'm thinking about him.  If I'm not at the barn, I'm reading an article and planning my next ride, or looking at the show schedule, or rolling my wraps.  I am the poster child for Crazy Horse Girl. Rationally, I know that not everyone is like that. Ethan's identity as a person has very little to do with the fact that he was a horse owner.  For him, it was just another hobby he enjoyed.  The fact that he's given away his horse doesn't change much for him.  So why do I feel like I don't even know him?

I don't expect to be able to answer any of this.  My image of what the future will be like has dramatically shifted, and it's going to take some time for me to wrap my head around it.  I expect that I'll sit with this for a while and come to terms with it.  There will be no barn in the backyard.  Our six acres of land will not be home to horses or donkeys, at least not for several years until I possibly move Tucker there for his retirement.  Life will go on.  Maybe I'll plant a garden.  And hopefully Mooch will have a happy life, wherever he ends up.


  1. This is a tough situation that I really don't have any amazing advice for, or any suggestions for a quick fix, so I'll just send ((hugs)). Hang in there.

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    1. So sorry. I feel for your and think that I would react to the above in a similar way.

      Best of luck to you guys and Godspeed to Mooch.

    2. Thanks. I read your first comment too and I didn't think it was too harsh. I get what you're saying. Just wanted to let you know I wasn't offended.

    3. Thanks. I walked away to get lunch and rethought it. I figure you already know everything I had typed and I'm sure you dont need some faceless person from the interwebz pointing it out again...

      Pardon the typo in the comment above.

  3. I don't have any advice for you either, but I think your hurt feelings are justified. Selling/giving away a major part of your life is a big deal, and he should have at least told you when he was starting the process. My husband (then fiance) needed to get a new car and ran ideas past me, even though I didn't really have a say in it. I am also paranoid about safe places to land, and I'm all for nominal fees to ensure that the horse isn't turned around and sold at auction. Hugs and I'm so sorry to hear this :(

  4. Horses are a big part of my life too, but my world doesn't revolve around them, so I can understand where Ethan is coming from. I can also understand why your feelings are hurt. I think, at the very least, he should have told you his intentions. Right now I'm struggling with what to do in my own personal riding life. I'm not sure the horse I have is the horse for me anymore, but I am terrified of selling him for fear he wont go to a home that understands him as well as I do. That fear of the unknown is crippling, but as owners of a living, breathing animal that has no real say in life, we are obligated to ensure that we do everything we can to make sure they are taken care of. That includes finding the best home for them when it is time.

    Anyways, lots of hugs. Sorry you had to deal with this frustrating problem :(

  5. omg i saw this title and freaked out thinking Mooch had died! glad that's not the case!! sorry tho to hear he's no longer a part of your family group, i'd be sad too. he is a neat horse!

  6. That sucks. I'm sorry it went that way and I hope Mooch ends up in a good place; he's such a nice little horse.

  7. Man that would have upset me too! I can be judgmental about people re-homing animals due to lack of interest too, but I agree sometimes it is for the best! Hope Mooch is going to a nice place. I just wish he had involved you in the process. I am sure you would feel completely differently about the situation if he had. :(

  8. I am honestly so terrified of this happening. My bf has been bugging me to let him get a horse to keep at the house because he wants to learn to ride. My only saving grace is he knows how crazy I get after I don't go to the barn for a few days and loves seeing my passion. I'm looking more into a free lease option from a friend so I know the future and past of the horse. We live on a farm right now with ten acres and haven't even been dating for a year. Have faith, things happen for a reason and everything will work how it is supposed to.

  9. This is really hard, but maybe once the change settles in things will get easier? I'm the same way, thinking about my horse and riding at all hours of the day, and I'm fortunate enough to be dating someone who knew me when all I did was horses, so it's easier for him to understand the obsession. But there are plenty of horse people dating non-horse people that find a way to make things work, and hopefully you guys can too.

  10. I have some strong feelings about this. I keep retyping this comment because I can't get it right...I'll just say you have every right to be upset about how this all went down, I'm here if you want to talk. Big hugs to you.

  11. I think whenever our significant other makes a decision without us, it feels like we're not operating as a time. Add in the horse element to this, and it is a hot pot of emotion. Sorry to hear. :/

  12. I'm a long time lurker and usually don't comment, but love hearing about Tucker!

    I feel the same way you do, and though I'm not dating anyone seriously if and when that day comes the "horse" conversation will be one of the first things that happens right up there with other major life decisions one often discusses (hopefully) before getting married or considering cohabitation and long term relationship.

    I would prefer my other half share my passion, but at the very least they must understand it, respect and support it and anyone I consider worthy of anything serious is going to be told up front. I have a horse. I will probably always have a horse. This is what it does to my budget. This is the time commitment involved. This is how it might affect lifestyle choices and housing options. If you can't handle it or think it might become a point of contention the relationship stops now before things get overly complicated.

    That may seem crazy but my mom gave up horses and a lot of other things because of my dad while the things that were important to him were not sacrificed so while I believe in compromising that is one area that I never plan to and I think by being up front early on you save arguments later because the other person was told what to expect and accepted it. My two cents! Hope Mooch found a happy home!


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