being good to horses

I'm torn. I don't know what to do about Annick.

On one hand I'm so thrilled about the prospect of going back to school in September, but the dark undertone is that I have to find a new equine solution. Currently Annick isn't that expensive; I'm basically just paying her board monthly. Which was fine while she was a baby. And it was fine when she had the winter off. But she's growing into this beautiful horse and she's going to be four this year (my, how they grow), which means she has to start actually being a horse, doing the things she was bred to do.

Do I sell her?
Do I lease her?

Do I beg Mary Jane (the woman who owns the barn where she lives) to let Annick live there in exchange for some sort of work?

The thought of selling her breaks my heart in half. Lauren will know this about me, but selling my last horse was literally one of the most painful experiences of my life. I know that's going to sound overboard to people who aren't horse people. But it was like selling a friend. I felt guilty getting money for him. The only thing that made sense to me at the time was to pour that money into another creature. Along came Annick.

Chasie was tough in a way Annick is not. Chasie was grumpy and didn't hesitate to tell someone when he didn't like what they were doing. Don't get me wrong - he was a wonderful, kind horse. But I somehow feel like he can take care of himself in a way Annick cannot. Annick, too, is inherently kind. But she's also about 100 times more sensitive than Chasie was. And because I've had her since she was a baby I know she's never been mistreated. I know she's always been treated fairly. So the idea of sending her out in the big wide world feels awful.

And then I think maybe I'm being egotistical. Who's to say that someone else wouldn't be better with her? That she wouldn't be happier elsewhere?

As much as I loved horse showing for most of my life, I sometimes really hate that world with its excess money and its superficiality. I want to protect Annick from falling victim to blue-ribbon-hungry children with over zealous mothers. I want to protect her from being worked too hard, jumped too often, taken for granted.

I just don't know how.

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