Two years without my Unicorn

They say that time heals all pain. When exactly does that start to happen? Asking for a friend…

Facebook is great for so many things. It keeps you in touch with the people you wouldn’t get to spend time with on the regular. Let’s you see all your peer’s accomplishments. Get updates on major life events from family and friends. And did I mention… ALL. THE. DOG. PHOTOS!

With all the positives of social media there are, of course, negatives. One thing I have noticed lately, is how painful some of the Facebook Memories can be. Sure, it is awesome to see photos from a vacation with your family five years ago or cute photos with your significant other when you first met but what about some of the memories that aren’t so happy?

Today marks the two-year anniversary of putting down my beautiful, dreams-do-come-true, “I am now a mare person”, big grey unicorn Bling-Bling. I never believed in love at first sight, until the first time I saw Bling. My trainer, Kristin, and I looked at least 50 horses, making several trips to Florida and Illinois, before we found Bling on one of our trips to Florida. I had heard about Bling from the assistant trainer, Helen, who knew what a sucker I am for a grey. I will always remember walking up to her stall and seeing these amazingly long, white, eyelashes starring back at me. I was done for. She could have had 3 legs and I would have still wanted her.

The other thing that was odd about my instant love affair with Bling was that she was a MARE! I am 150% team mare now, but let me tell you, this has not always been the case. I was so anti-mare that it drove my trainer crazy. I didn’t even want to sit on any mares when we were horse shopping. Looking back now, what a brat. Sorry, Kristin. To everyone’s surprise I had my heart set on her. Fun fact, the first time I rode her, she jumped so hard I feel off. Yup, didn’t care. This was my horse and I never looked back.

Although I was only able to show Bling once before she suffered some career ending misfortunes, the things that I learned from Bling on the ground far surpassed what I could have learned in the ring. She taught me to be tough. This horse was so stoic and strong that no matter how uncomfortable she was she always held her head high and with class. She believed in herself. I wish I had one hundredth of the self confidence in myself that she had in herself. She knew who her people (or horses) were and protected them fiercely. 

There was a period of time in our nearly ten year relationship where I had to rehome Bling. To this day this is still one of my biggest regrets in life and I will feel guilty about it every day of my life. I was told she would be a brood mare but that went terribly wrong and I found her out showing, which broke my heart.  Because of this situation I will never sell another horse again. Ever. Through the help of friends and a lot of searching I was able to locate my mare after almost two years and bring her home. Thank you to everyone who helped make this possible. I will forever be grateful to you all.

When Bling came back to me after nearly two years apart she was so so so lame. I called my mother sobbing and was telling her we had to put her down in the morning. It was the saddest thing I have ever witnessed. This strong, beautiful, horse couldn’t even walk down the barn isle to her stall. But she tried for me. After being wrapped, given pain meds and a lot of food she was bright and happy in the morning. She and my mother encouraged me to give her some time; that she was not ready to go.

I am so glad I listened to them because Bling and I had nearly five more amazing years together. In that time despite zero expectations of being able to ride her, she healed with the help of amazing vets, my farrier, barn owners and staff who helped her in her recovery, and a lot of time. Although we didn’t pick up on our jumping career we were able to work on both of our strength, balance, and even participated in several dressage clinics. None of which would have been possible without the massive heart of this amazing mare.

As many of you know now, I have had my own health problems. When I would feel defeated, scared, and defective, I would think of Bling and how is she overcame all of her health obstacles so could I. She inspired me to be brave at times I wanted to give up.  Every day I got to spend with Bling felt like I won the lottery. It was time I never thought I would get. Yet it never felt like enough time.

On January 25th I made the hardest decision of my life, to put Bling down the next day. Her melanomas were out of control and I feared that she would have another major bout with colic. She was losing weight, the melanomas were appearing on other parts of her body, and her personality was changing. She was not the in your pocket sweetheart that she use to be; she looked and acted tired.  I promised all of my animals, especially her, that I would never keep them around just for me. As long as they are enjoying their lives (regardless of being sound to be ridden) I would do whatever I could to keep them here. But that day she told me it was time to go. I kept my promise to her and called our family vet, who has been like family to me, and with the most love and respect he came the next day. Also my best friend, Sandra, and my second mom, Debbie came out to be with me. They dropped everything to be with me. My parents were in NYC at the time, my brother was out of town as well, and so was Bethany the owner of Greenfield where I have the horses. Without those people coming to be with me I don’t know how I would have been able to do it.

You won’t see many photos of Bling or hear me talk about her on social media very often as she died before I got HofZ off the ground, but I wanted to share a little bit about this mare and why she meant so much to me. So today I am sad. I miss my girl every single day, but I can smile and think of all the fun we had together, and how she changed me for the better. She taught me patience and the power of love and believing in yourself.

Thank you, big momma.