More than a year ago, I made the difficult decision to euthenize my beloved Standardbred mare, Story.
Less than a week later, I got a phone call from the Standardbred rescue agency:
"We heard about Story, we're so sorry, you were really brave...." (blah blah blah blah) ....We can't help noticing that you've got an empty stall."
It turns out that earlier in the year, a nice lady from Vancouver Island had adopted a young Standardbred mare from the agency. Then in November, doctors discovered that the lady's headaches were caused by a brain tumor. She needed immediate surgery to remove the tumor--and she needed to bring the mare back to the agency. But in the winter months, the rescue barn was full. They had no stalls available, and no pastures to house this horse...
...and then somebody remembered about Story. So they called me. Would I agree to take a mare I had never seen, if only for the winter? If I liked her I could keep her--if not, I could bring her back in the spring when there was room at the rescue.
The nice lady brought the horse to me, so that she could reassure herself that this young mare was going to a good home. Jacqui met me and my family, my friends, my dogs, and when she drove away that night, there was a tall, gawky, confused young mare (who turned out to be Story's distant cousin) standing in Story's old stall.
I've spent the time since then watching Fiddle grow up. I have learned from her at least as much as I've taught her. It's been fun.
And today, more than a year after the doctors gave the nice lady a dire prognosis about the tumor in her head, Jacqui came back to visit so that we could take OUR mare, Fiddle, for a trail ride.
We had a wonderful time. We laughed and laughed. We enjoyed the sunshine. We stopped for lunch. We traded horses, and rode and laughed all the way back to the trailer.
Fiddle, no longer gawky, seemed to understand that she was supposed to show off all the good skills that she's gained with in the last year. She crossed bridges, stepped over fallen logs, and climbed up and down some twisty, narrow trails like a seasoned trail horse. She was especially happy to show off her skill at eating grass during the lunch stop!
Life is good. Jacqui is healing--having had parts of her brain removed, I suggested that she should probably go blonde now.
Fiddle is still learning new things every day. And I'm really lucky to be able to have Fiddle and Jacqui in my life!