A truly major shift has occurred on my farm, one that I never envisioned. If there is one thing I have learned in my life it is to never say never.
Riding Buddy and I have been talking about this shift for well over a year. With Izzy's passing last week, Hawkey was left with no herd at all and, somewhat to my own surprise, I have decided to let Tessa go down to Riding Buddy's place to keep him company. RB needs another horse to work with and keep Hawkeye company. She also needs it to be a good, sound, young horse, who will be both fun and safe, which is a very rare combination. Tessa fits that bill.
I have not been able to do much riding this summer for a variety of reasons and Tessa needs more exercise. She also enjoys getting out and doing things. RB's place is only a mile away and we should be able to ride out together from her farm easier than the two of us riding out alone to meet in the middle. We hope that we will actually be able to ride more this way. I will have one less critter to care for over the winter, the donkeys will have more room in the barn, Hawkeye will have a friend, Tessa will get to hang out with her boyfriend and (hopefully) get more exercise and RB will have another good horse to work with.
It should be a win-win for all of us.
It is a good plan and I think it will work out well, but it is a monumental shift in my world. Horses have been central to my life for as long as I can remember. If you had said to me 10 years ago that I would look out to my barn and find three donkeys and no horses, I'd have suggested heavy medication and therapy. It is a jolt to walk into my tack room and not see a saddle. It is even more of a jolt to walk to the barn and not hear Tessa's unique and distinctive wuffling, warbling nicker or look out my window and not see a horse.
The donkeys are doing their best to convince me that no horses are needed. They miss Tessa a bit, but Ben and Ramsey have been vying for her favorite corner in the barn all day. Without her wading through their ranks, they feel even freer to crowd around me, demanding attention, affection and entertainment.
Tessa will be sporting a grazing muzzle just like Hawkeye's, maybe she will even lose a bit of weight. One can always hope.
Last night, I spent a couple of hours repairing my manure spreader and all three donkeys were there for every scintillating moment. Tessa would have eventually gotten bored and wandered off. The donkeys didn't want to miss a single swear word, not even the ones directed at them when I tripped over one of them.
I would never let Tessa stay with just anybody and I wouldn't put her with any other horses. She is not happy being out with most horses and does not feel safe with them, but she has known Hawkeye for a long time and has always been very enamored with him. While she will miss her donkeys, I believe she will enjoy staying with him and it is good for her to be around other horses.
All-in-all, I think this will be good for everyone. It will just take me a while to adjust to this massive change in the world's geography.