My attempts to bathe Gabbrielle and do a photo shoot continued to be thwarted by rain, health struggles, and schedules. In the meantime, I kept trying to gradually re-assimilate her into the herd with supervision. It took about two weeks, but she finally got back to her old self -- a mare who was capable of getting along with other horses.
I did notice that whenever Gabbrielle pinned her ears at the geldings, Lostine chased Gabbrielle away from them. Lostine understands my emotions, so when I get upset with another horse for doing something bad, she backs me up by translating and disciplining. It suddenly hit me that during those two weeks when Gabbrielle was being aggressive toward other horses, Lostine must not have been feeling well, because she made no effort to enforce the rules. Perhaps that was why Gabbrielle went through that phase. She knew she could get away with it when I wasn't around.
However, that thought wasn't very comforting since Lostine is 27 years old. Who knows how much longer she'll be around to keep the herd in check?
I've been gradually developing a new health problem that has been getting in the way of doing barn chores and riding. I wake up in the morning feeling like I've been hit by a truck. I know the problem isn't our mattress, because we recently bought a new one, and even added a topper to it when I still was feeling sore in the morning. It doesn't matter where or how I sleep, I always wake with widespread aches and pains throughout my muscles and bones. The worst of the pain is in my joints -- shoulders, spine, hips, ankles, toes... We're thinking I may be experiencing swelling from arthritis.
It used to be that the aches and pains would go away after about an hour from waking, but then I had to wait until the afternoon to be mobile and pain-free. Now, sometimes the pain doesn't go away until evening, right before bed time. We had a few cloudy days that were perfect for horseback riding, but I was too stiff and sore to do that.
I started thinking about how there's no point in keeping four horses around if this condition is not temporary, so I decided to put Bombay up for sale too. He's old, but I've seen some ads out there for horses even older than him. Someone might be in the market for a more experienced horse.
When we finally got two days of bathing horses and doing photo shoots accomplished, I looked at the pictures of Gabbrielle and was stunned by her beauty. How could I let this horse go? She may be a little tyrant at times, but she's beyond stunning. I'm so lucky to own such a gorgeous horse.
Then I worked on writing the sale ads for each horse, and found myself going into great depth about Bombay's character, sense of humor, intelligence, and ability to do tricks. I wrote that he has been my best buddy for the past 16 years, and I take him hiking with me just because he is so polite and such good company. Again, how could I let a horse like that go? We have such a history together.
I realized that I was entering the hard part of selling horses, and I hadn't even posted the ads yet. I worried that I wouldn't be able to handle having strangers come to my ranch to scrutinize my best friends. Then I told myself I can always say no if I feel that the potential new owner and my horse are not a fit.