The One that Got Away
Every once in a while you fall head over heals in love with a horse. There’s a few of these for everyone. The horse that is not only the perfect embodiment of what you find beautiful, but has a personality to match. The horse that you click with right away and need to keep track of or risk losing your mind.
One of those horses came along while I was a volunteer at an OTTB rescue. I was in no position to buy a horse at the time, and made a wise choice to pass on this gorgeous guy named Buck.
Buck was a big brown four year old gelding with only 4 starts. The best he managed in four starts was 4th. He had a typical California bred pedigree. It was a mixed bag – some good and some bad. Physically he was a fine specimen. His beautiful seal brown coat shined. He had a beautiful head, neck and shoulder. He was the most attractive horse that ever came through the program (in my opinion of course).
His personality was endearing. He was playful, curious and friendly. He loved playing with the big horse ball in his paddock and he was all but obsessed with crunching water bottles in is teeth. Anything could turn into a new game and we had a lot of fun together.
In our short time together we built a bond. I spent more time with him than previous horses. We did ground work and spent hours lunging to build up his top line and teach him manners. I enjoyed my few rides on him before incurring an injury that kept me from riding for several months.
By that time, the secret was out. He wouldn’t be around for long. There was a lovely woman interested in him and before I knew it Buck was off to his new home.
I have kept track of Buck over the years since his adoption and I’m happy to get to talk with his owner often. Buck is now 7 years old, going on 8. It’s hard for me to believe that much time has passed. He’s grown and progressed and has taken to jumping like a champ (even if he does keep hurting himself).
I was recently able to go visit Buck, and even after all these years I knew he remembered me.
He’s still the gorgeous boy he always was. He’s still as accident prone, which I thought would diminish with age – it hasn’t. He’s a little bigger (okay…quite a bit bigger), and his personality is still as strong and playful as it ever was. He’s still the guy I fell in love with.
It is wonderful to watch a horse go from fresh off a race to the well mannered, mature horse he is now. It is lovely to see his bond with his new mom and know how happy he is. He’s extremely well taken care of. He’s got a big stall with a run paddock. He gets turned out in pasture almost daily. He’s not lacking for food (in fact he’s maybe a hair fat). It is enough to put a smile on anyone’s face.
By this time next year Buck will have moved halfway across the country. It’s likely I may not see him again after that. I know that he will be happy and I know he will be well cared for. That is a blessing. I know he’s exactly where he’s supposed to be and with the right person. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I count myself lucky that I was able to play some role in his life, even if it was for a short time. Buck will always have a piece of my heart.