It’s official, yesterday, Generator's Cuevo Gold, or as he will henceforth be known as, Jean-Luc Ponycard, became mine. Talk about having all kinds of feelings. While the pit that occupied my stomach has since abated, it has been filled with an entirely new set of emotions. Prior to acquiring my drop dead gorgeous champagne painted gelding, I was filled with worry, anticipation, and basically a genuine terror that something would go wrong. Will he load on the trailer? Will the lady that has agreed to haul him to his new barn back out? Will his owner change her mind and decide not to sell him? Is there some unknown health issue he has that she just didn’t tell me about? Am I being duped and this horse is really a psychopath?
Just before 9 AM Sunday, my best friend Hannah, and our newest friend Tina, a nearly retired school teacher met us out at the barn I chose board Jean-Luc at. Both Tina and Hannah literally have decades of horse ownership under their belts. For me, bringing them along was more than comforting, in my head, it was a necessity. Together, I knew we would be able to cope with whatever trouble may encounter during our trip.
I made them each an egg, sweet pepper, and spinach falafel for breakfast. (As an aside, it is always important to remember that when asking for favors, I believe the least a person can do is make those helping happy and comfortable.) By the time Hannah and I arrived Tina already had her trailer hooked up to her rig. She was ready to go. (Inside my head I was pretty excited to check at least one box off the list.) Tina’s king cab truck provided Hannah and I with a more than comfortable ride. The seats were leather heated with heavy duty Weathertech floor liners any car owner would be jealous of.
Rolling along the backroads of West Virginia it truly struck me: A.) I am my mother’s daughter, and B.) Being a control freak is exhausting. No, it isn’t worth it, however, I also have yet to figure out how to change that particular characteristic about myself. On the drive over to pick up Jean-Luc, as I yakked with my best friend and the woman who agreed to trailer him, it hit me.
“Wow,” I told them after spewing out everything that had been in my brain all week. “I think this horse is going to be better for me than I ever realized.”
Thinking of it now, nearly every horse owner I know is a very “go-with-the-flow” kind of person, something I often envy in others. Perhaps horse ownership has something to do with it? The truth I am learning is that, like it or not, is that you don’t really own a horse. If anything, it owns you. The dance of communication, at least in the beginning, is far more, horse telling human what he needs, and the human works within their means to provide it. Once Jean-Luc and I establish our bond and trust for each other, I look forward to revisiting that topic.
(As an aside, I am not ashamed, but rather proud my mother instilled this extreme sense of independence in me at an early age. To this day, she will profess the importance of always being able to provide for yourself, on your own, if need be. Relying on others for anything is not frowned upon, but we’re usually surprised when people actually follow through with something – especially when it involves asking for favors.)
Jean-Luc lived in Keyser, West Virginia in a beautiful barn built by a husband that is beyond devoted to his wife. Wendy loves Jean-Luc more than words can say. I believe she is the type of person who would subscribe to the idea of, “if you truly love something, then let it go.” Though affection to her horses, she hasn’t had urge to work much with them recently. She, like many in her situation, struggle with the idea they are going to waste as “pasture pups.” For this reason, and perhaps a few others, she chose to sell him. It is my intention to never make that choice.
Just after 11:30 AM Tina, Hannah and I crossed the final bridge and meandered up the road into Jean-Luc’s previous owner’s driveway. She waved affectionately at us, instructing us where to park. Tina introduced herself, as Hannah and I both climbed out of the King Cab to greet her as well.
Beyond Wendy, I could see Jean-Luc in his stall. He was extremely excited. He paced back and forth a like popping his head over the stall door to see what was going on – he knew something was happening. If I’m totally honest with myself, the entire situation was uncomfortable, and I’m sure he sensed that. Wendy, had sent me a text the night before warning me she may cry. Jean-Luc, no doubt understood her depression, and after seeing the trailer, and being split from his only other herd member, he was not pleased.
Wendy decided to release my energetic man into the field while we filled out the bill of sale, exchanged money, paperwork, and went over any other bits of information worth knowing. The entire experience lasted roughly fifteen minutes.
“Well, do we want to load him up?” Tina asked.
We all agreed there was little else to do. Tina grabbed the lead rope she had brought along and Jean-Luc met her at the fence. All this time Hannah had been the best friend every running around documenting the experience with my camera. Again, I was thrilled to have them there because the overall feeling and general intensity of the situation rendered my brain somewhat useless. I recognize now that after signing the paperwork, I basically watched things happen like a Netflix documentary. I wondered over to try and be helpful, but ended up being more in the way. (I’m learning that sometimes, in situations like that, it’s okay. Be ready. Be on hand. But don’t be in the way.)
Tina started to load the jittery horse on her trailer, however she was not entirely comfortable loading an animal she did not know – can’t blame anyone for that. Wendy shared that he usually just walks right on and took the lead from Tina to show her. Sure enough, he did just that. In under five minutes Jean-Luc had gone from the field to the trailer and exceeded any kind of expectation I had in my head.
The rest of our time with Wendy and her husband was even shorter. Tina was great and apologized for leaving so quickly, but since Jean-Luc was antsy, it would be best to get on the road. Wendy and I hugged, she rubbed my shoulder and after briefly saying our goodbyes, I hopped back in the passenger seat – we were off.
Although it may have felt rude at the time, heading out as quickly as we did was likely the best course of action for everyone. Drawn out heartfelt goodbyes are like slowly removing a Band-Aid. Rip it off. Acknowledge the hurt. Move on.
The drive home was quiet and short. The three of us shared our level of shock at how smooth things were going, how fast we loaded, and played through the scenarios of what might happen when we got back to the barn. But other than that, that’s it – Jean-Luc was mine. I bought a horse . . . Now what?
My name is Chelsey.
Generator's Cuevo Gold, or as he's known around this barn, "Jean-Luc Ponycard", was foaled in 2004 from Generator's Hurricane & Cheyenne's Little Bit.