I thought I'd share a little bit about my key partner in crime, Dainty.
Dainty came to us in 2016 to be a companion pony to our little bay mare Squirrel. She joined the year my horse of a lifetime, and co-founder Murphy of HorseSense UK passed, and on the day our gelding Toby was PTS. So basically, she joined us when we were all in transition and a sea of grief.
Found the year before on pre-loved, we had been looking for a decent sized mare to join Squirrel, but even though we liked her it was decided she wasn't a good fit.
So when we needed a horse suddenly, and I was well aware I'd never deleted the videos of her on my phone (a sign I was still interested), we contacted the owners to find out if she was still available.
She was, and needed a new home in a fortnight. We visited. She still had 4 legs and a tail, so a deal was done.
So on the 5th September 2016, we cajoled a 5 year old horse to leave her previous family and start a new life, with us. She was babyish and nervous, bordering on dangerous.
In those early years, one thing was clear, she was in a lot of discomfort. Being touched was a big no. Riding was out of the question. Training sessions were mostly healing sessions. There was no gas pedal unless another horse went with her.
It was utterly heartbreaking to see such a distressed and uncomfortable soul. Vets came and went. None had any useful suggestions. We contemplated a humane solution many times, but something in us held off. Dainty hadn't given up on herself, so we weren't going to either.
Antisocial, nervous, lame almost constantly, yet we soldiered on giving her the best life we could.
Clients loved her. They related to her struggles, chuckled at her resource hording, admired her beauty. She mirrored their emotions and taught them self regulation and the beauty of vulnerability.
As for me? I've never trawled the internet with so much vigour to get to the bottom of her health issues. She taught me to not give my power away to experts and to trust in my own awareness.
Used to a wise gelding before, I have had to improve my female to female relationship skills, learn how to take the lead, set boundaries and listen to her incredible wisdom.
Now Dainty is 10, we're still learning and growing together. She's shown me with the right foundations, healing and health is possible. She's shown me the extent of my commitment, and how damn far in life I still have to go!
Most only get to have fleeting experiences with horses. I am lucky enough to have had a lifetime.
I hope she continues to pick me as we traverse our lives together. It is such an honour to have the love and respect of a horse.