“How does anyone handle the unexpected loss of a 15-year old Arabian to colic? We had come so far. We had tamed his constant jigging and now rode for hours on rocky wilderness trails, and we were just beginning liberty riding. Mekai wasn’t perfect, but I had a relationship with him like no other. I was stunned.

I wasn’t really looking for another horse. Don’t we all say that? But not long after, my boarding owner introduced me to a severely thin dun mare she had retrieved from neglectful owners. Would I be interested in spending some time with her? I said to myself, why not? I could just “hang out” with her. It would give my mind something to do while grieving the loss of Mekai.

As I spent more time with this mare, I discovered she had been severely and roughly handled—head shy, ear shy, rope shy, feet shy, saddle shy, trailer shy. Pretty much afraid of everything. Did I mention I like a challenge? Well, after a month of hanging out with her, I officially became her horse person and named her Savannah.

I approached a seemingly insurmountable task of retraining her. I am patient and methodical and that was what she required to re-establish her trust in humans. Her nature—spooky, flighty, racey, bracey, unpredictable— was everything unlike Mekai, so I enlisted a friend’s help. There were times when I fondly remembered and longed for Mekai. I sure missed him! How was I going to manage?But through the many, many months, not only did a trusting, steady, stable, confident Savannah develop, but I became a more resilient, confident, and straightforward human in all areas of my own life.

Together we grew. I developed her character, and Savannah developed mine. Isn’t it amazing how that works? She was no longer head shy, ear shy, rope shy, feet shy, saddle shy or trailer shy!!!Then, an unexpected and shocking tragedy occurred, I lost my husband of 22 years to a heart attack. Reeling in the aftermath, I sought Savannah out on a daily basis. She quieted my nerves and focused my mind on tasks of daily grooming, feeding, mucking. The simple things. It was what I needed. She was what I needed.

Remember resiliency? Remember confidence? Remember straightforwardness? As the days and months from my husband’s death wanes with ups and downs in between, I am so grateful for the horse that Savannah was and the horse she has become‚ and the person that I have become because of her! We ride together out on the cow pasture trails, and we are working on liberty riding. I still hold fond memories of Mekai and will never forget him. I wholeheartedly step forward to the future with Savannah. She is not perfect, but I have a relationship and bond with her like no other!”

—Karen H.

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