Empty Halter

I have been involved with horses going on 21 years. When I say involved, I mean that they have been a hobby, lifestyle, passion and now a chosen career. Granted, I had my career picked out when I was nine years old and pretty much chose to start treating my passion as a career at that time. Day in and day out I looked at my daily chores as a job to do. Each day was and still is an opportunity to learn and gain knowledge. I don’t see the word “job” as a negative word, like some others might. I was born a workaholic, I find a lot of joy and gratification in working. Yep, I am weird! Having your career and passion looped into the same focus can have it’s pro and cons. Especially when specific 4 legged animals are the focus. Two years ago, we purchased a four month old colt. We brought him home from Idaho, raised him and loved him with the intent that he would become our next stud prospect and a permanent resident. As time continued on it was evident that he would have a better life as a gelding. That in itself was a hard decision for me to make. He was stunning to look at and cool to ride! For his sake we knew it would be better to him if he could live a geldings life. He didn’t thrive between the narrow lines he had to keep as a stud and he was not doing well kept in stud safe pens. This guy was a social being that loved anyone and everyone and loved the freedoms of being turned out with groups of other horses. As most know extra hormones change a lot about a young colt and it can be difficult for some to find themselves again. Some are just born for the stud life and most aren’t. When making the decision to geld our stud prospects we know that there is a good chance they will be sold in the future. On our ranch, we can only afford so much on our personal feed bill and give our time, love and affection. As proprietors we choose to keep stock that will be shown and then continue to be used in our breeding program. Looking at our personal herd, knowing the specific needs and having an emotional attachment to each individual with plans and dreams in tow, it is always hard to let them go into other hands. Unfortunately, once my new gelding was emotionally and physically ready to move on I knew it was time to let him find greater opportunities with someone else. I don’t know about you, but I pray a lot for my horses that I decide to sell. I pray that they find a good fit and land in the best place for them. After listing my guy, I had a HUGE response! With the flood of people from across the county I was sure that he would be leaving the state. I had one couple schedule come to see him.

The instant they showed up and went to pet on my sweet kind guy, he shut down. He knew the circumstances and the reason they were there. I felt terrible that they just drove 3 hours to see a colt shut down, lose his work ethic and a be deadhead! After watching him shut down, and then come back to life after they drove away really made me reconsider the decision to sell him. Later that evening, a wonderful local family contacted me about him. I proceeded to provide all the info, videos and even told them how he changed when the other folks showed up to see him. They understood and still came the following day! My gelding immediately loved this young family and they in turn also fell in love with him. Not a week later they came to pick him up. They haltered him, led him straight into their trailer without hesitation, we said our goodbyes and they were off. He left to begin a new chapter with someone else. I am so thankful and excited that he landed with people he chose, to top it off he stayed local! As I turned around I saw his empty halter hanging on the tie rail. It took me a few days to unbuckle it and put it away. As the days and years roll on, I know that he wont be the only horse that will need move on from my personal collection. I just pray and hope that they all find happy landings like he did!

By Katie Mason