In the comments of my last post, I tried to clarify something that some of you might not realize. Unless you've been reading since day one, you probably don't know that Salem is not my horse (you can read about it by clicking here). I know, I know -- I do write like he's mine, and I certainly treat him as if he's my own. That's just the way I've always been; every single animal that is under my care is going to get the best of everything that I can provide.
I've known Salem's owner Ruby since I was nine, and she's seen me "adopt" so many horses. Any horse that was given to me as a project always got spoiled within an inch of its life. I would buy supplements and treats and spend hours grooming and working. I suspect that this is a big part of the reason that Ruby felt comfortable having Salem stay with me. She knew that he would want for nothing and live the life of Riley. I pay for him to have the stall with the 1/2 acre paddock attached, I buy him tons of extra hay, supplements, flax seed, treats, products, massages, etc. He's definitely living the good life!
Saturday night, I got a text message from Ruby asking for the address to Salem's farm. She wants to set up the date for his shipping. Of course, I've always known that this day would come, but I tried to push it out of my head and focus on the moment. Ruby said that she's always planned on bringing him up May 1st, but it's news to me. I feel like time has flown by at mach speed.
So, I have six more weeks with The Boy. I'm sad because, of course, I will miss him like crazy. I've seen him every single day since he got here in October, and he's always my favorite part of the day. He's such a huge puppy dog and a total sweetheart. I know Ruby is going to absolutely fall head over heels in love with him. That makes me happy...but the fact that he will be leaving is also heartbreaking.
In addition, I feel like he hasn't progressed as much as I would have liked. And there are so many things that I wanted to do with him that might never happen. We've had so many setbacks along the way -- he had major tooth issues, sore/messed up hooves, muscle issues, and most recently saddle fit/back issues. That's a lot of issues to deal with! Of course, he also had a body-wide case of fungus and an abscess along the way, as well. All of that stuff took away from our progress.
That's not to say that he hasn't come a long way. He's certainly a much more mature horse than the one who arrived in early October. He's learned a lot and really developed physically. Of course, with horses you can never really have a timeline. You can have an idea of what you would like to accomplish, and goals to reach for. But you can't say, "OK, in X amount of time, such-and-such will be perfect." I actually felt a lot better when Heather (who's an awesome rider) told me that it took a solid year to really teach Sid to halt. In light of that, I think that Salem has really come a long way.
So, for the next six weeks, I am going to take advantage of the time that I have with Salem. Obviously, I don't need to buy a new saddle, so I am going to take the money that I have saved up so far and use it on Salem. We're going to take lessons, he's going to get massages and special horse cookies and maybe even a chiropractic adjustment. I am going to ride out as much of the "green" as I possibly can so that he will be ready for his new life in Chicago.
*sniff* I knew that I would fall in love with Salem and be heartbroken when he left. But it was too good of an opportunity to pass up. I'm grateful for every single second that I've had with him, and I'm going to cherish the few that remain.
8 hours ago