Back in April, I wrote a post (here) about Eldest Mudlet and the battle she has had, coming to terms with a dramatic change in her health over the last 18 months/2 years, as well as other changes in her personal life, that sent her reeling into the depths of despair and the struggle she faced fighting her way back out of depression. At the time of that original post, she was making good progress and the good days far outweighed the bad, thanks in no small measure, to the presence in her life of a little black and white mare called Gypsy.
Gypsy had been a Christmas gift from her friends, who had banded together to buy her, after Eldest Mudlet and the mare developed a bond whilst the mare was roaming with a herd of mares in the enormous field, that is part of the stables where Eldest Mudlet rode various horses. No one had been able to get near the mare, let alone catch her, for months and yet with time and patience, Eldest Mudlet had gained the trust of the mare and was at least able to stroke her, although the mare was too cautious to allow herself to be caught. In the end, it took the concerted effort of several owners to drive her into the stable yard and into a stall.
Gypsy didn’t take kindly to being stabled but Eldest Mudlet persevered and before long the mare was happy enough to be stabled, followed my daughter around like a puppy and came when called from the smaller paddock or menage. But in April Mudlet had a dilemma on her hands. She couldn’t keep the mare in her stall throughout the summer, as that just wouldn’t be fair, but there wasn’t a small field or paddock she could use as a permanent turn out option either. Although Gypsy was happily coming when called from the small areas, Eldest Mudlet couldn’t shake off the feeling that if she turned her into the large field with the rest of the mares, she would revert back to her old ways. Those of us who had watched the change in Gypsy, thought she was wrong, as it was clear that the mare adored my first born child and so it was, with great misgivings and with little other choice, to be frank, the mare was turned out into the big field ……..
……… and there she stayed for three months, uncatchable, shying away from everyone, not coming near my now heartbroken eldest child.
How well Eldest Mudlet had known her mare.
Love for the mare drove Mudlet to keep on trying to catch Gypsy but the field was so large and the mare soon realised that if she kept just out of reach at all times, Mudlet would tire and have to abort the attempt. So many tears were shed, so many curses and the stress and worry over the mare was beginning to take its’ toll. With no available suitable space for the mare within easy reach for Mudlet, after much deliberation, she took the heartbreaking step to try and find her a home where they had the set up to accommodate her particular peculiarity and could maximise her full potential.
So one bright sunny day in July, her friends and fellow horse owners alike, turned out to round up the errant mare but even with a small army of helpers, the sheer size of the field meant that catching her was no easy matter and it took nearly two hours.
With Gypsy finally in the stables again, Mudlet fell in love with her all over again and decided not to sell her, and worked hard over the next couple of weeks to reaffirm the bond that had existed between them but it soon became apparent that the mare wasn’t in a forgiving mood and made life as difficult as she could.
“I don’t know what to do!’ an anguished Mudlet cried, torn between keeping the mare she loved or letting the obviously unhappy animal go to a home where she could have a fresh start.
Taking a deep breath I pointed out that owning a horse should be 95% enjoyment and 5% worry and not the other way around which was the situation she currently had with the mare. She hadn’t been able to ride her own horse at all during the previous three months and she couldn’t be organising round ups every time she fancied a hack out.
In the end, she drew up an honest and frank advert to gauge interest in the mare and as luck would have it, she fit the bill for an experienced horse owning family and within a week of placing the advert, the mare was in a new home. The new owners happily update Eldest Mudlet on Gypsys’ progress and whilst it is fair to say that my daughter misses the mare dreadfully and has shed more than a few tears since the mare went, she knows that for both her and the mare this was the right decision.
Having the horse to focus on had been instrumental in Eldest Mudlets’ recovery over the previous 18 months and with Gypsy sold, there was a huge hole in her life and so Eldest Mudlet decided to see what was available in the area, in terms of a possible replacement but knew that she was unlikely to see anything suitable right away. She still had other peoples horses to ride, so being horseless for a while wasn’t an issue and she decided she would continue to pay for her stable, so that when she did find something she liked, she would be all set to go. So it was with some surprise that she spotted what looked to be the ideal horse for her needs, about 30 miles away and for the right sort of money, just days after Gypsy was sold.
Trying not to get her hopes up, she arranged a viewing. Waiting to meet her was a beautiful bright bay gelding, 6 years old and as affectionate and willing as you could have hoped for, going by the name of Prince, and what a prince he is. It’s early days but he truly is as besotted with her as she is with him, comes when called all the time, is mischievous but always affectionate. He’s what’s known as ‘lightly backed’ which means she needs to break him to riding but that’s the challenge she needs, without the stress and worry that she had with Gypsy. He’s the right balance of both and she is happy.
And as if solving this particular problem was the catalyst she needed, she now has another prince in her life, one that even Mud approves off, one who understands the importance of Prince in her life but who will gently suggest that her need to rest does occasionally have to come before the need to stand at the gate for hours, in all weathers, just watching her boy quietly grazing.