I know it’s been awhile since I’ve posted on the blog, life has continued to be a bit crazy on the Sunshine farm. I do have a sad announcement to share, although I’ve been hesitant to do so.
This past week Faelynn left the Sunshine Farm to go back to Lollypop Farm where she will find a new home as a companion horse. I know this sounds very surprising, since we love her so much, but here’s the background on why we made this decision.
About a month ago I took Faelynn out into the arena for her first ride here. After lunging her and walking her around the space for a while to adjust, I got on her quietly. Immediately after getting on her she bucked and reared and threw me off, which was surprising for me since she didn’t have any of those behaviors while at Lollypop Farm. I decided to try again so we could end on a positive note. My plan was simply to mount and dismount quickly to show her it was safe. The second I got on her she had the same reaction and didn’t give me a chance to get off willingly before throwing me off. I landed hard on my back the second time and had the wind knocked out of me, it was pretty scary for me and my back has continued to give me problems over the past month or so. Anyways I still wanted to end on a good note so I walked her around and pretended as if I was going to mount her and then praised her for standing still.
After that experience I decided to wait to try again until I had a trainer helping me with her. The Lollypop trainer agreed to come out and help, but it took a few weeks for the weather to allow her to do so.
Last Sunday she came out to assess the situation. Even while being lunged she seemed incredibly nervous and fearful. After she calmed down and began lunging with a relaxed neck, the trainer brought her over the mounting block to get on.
Unfortunately, she had the same reaction as soon as the trainer got on, although she was able to stay on a whole lot longer. She had one major episode and then seemed to calm down a bit. However, a few minutes later she had another episode where she reared so high that her legs buckled and she was close to rolling over on the trainer. At that point the trainer fell off and it was too dangerous for her to get back on. She walked her around the space for a while to calm her down and then we untacked her, gave her a quick brush, and put her in her stall to cool off.
After those experiences it was very clear to me that she did not want to be ridden and I was not the person to be able to work through those behaviors. It is unclear why she had such a strong reaction while being ridden here at the Sunshine Farm. Maybe it was the stallion next door, being outside, or some other physiological factors. It is less likely that it is a pain reaction since she was recently ridden at Lollypop and her back had been checked while she was there. Unfortunately, with a behavior that dangerous, neither The trainer nor I felt comfortable riding her.
The next day we talked it through and decided it would be best for Faelynn to go back to Lollypop to find a home where she can be a companion horse, where nobody expects her to be ridden, and she can enjoy her many years outside with horse friends enjoying attention and love. At this point in my life, I am really looking for a horse I can ride here at the farm, since it has been a life dream of mine. I wish it was in our budget and time to be able to rescue lots of companion horses, and one day I hope to do so, but for right now we are looking for a rideable horse that will get along with Justin, be safe, and be fairly manageable to work with.
On Wednesday of this week Faelynn went back to Lollypop. Her trainer said she is adjusting well, and I’m sure she is enjoying being back with all of her friends. It is a beautiful place for rescued horses to be while they wait for new homes. Now Chris and I are looking for our next horse, and this time around I am taking things a lot slower. For one, we are only looking at geldings (male horses) because of the neighbor’s stallion, and this time we are considering purchasing a horse (in addition to looking at rescued horses) since purchasing may give us more insight on their history. There are a couple of ponies we are seriously considering, so stay tuned on that journey! While this process has been devastating with losing Fae, I have learned so much about the patience and time it takes to work with horses, and I am looking forward to the day I (successfully) ride a horse here at the Sunshine Farm.
It has been sad sharing this news with all of you, but it is a real part of owning horses and living this lifestyle. Here on the blog I want to share our REAL lives with all of you, and not just the fun stuff, although there is lots of fun stuff! And in case you are wondering about Justin, he is doing great! While he misses his buddy, he seems happy and appreciative of all the attention we have been giving him. I know he will be excited once we bring home a new friend for him. I imagine he will do even better with another gelding as a companion.
4 thoughts on “Short but Sweet”
Good move! Reality can be a harsh teacher, but better to send her back. Not enough horse people get it when it comes to horses that shouldn’t ought to be ridden. Hang in there, be patient. :)) Dawn
Thank you! It does take a lot of patience, but it is worth it in the end.
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Hey Jen, I’m so sorry to hear that! She looked like such a sweet horse 🙂 Obviously I am not sure what your set up is over there but over the past years I have had issues with my mare getting pretty wild and unmanageable as well. It was always in places that I had just her and my gelding at and it would happen when I would take her out by herself – pretty classic separation anxiety. Now that they are both back at a bigger barn with lots of other horses, she is super calm and safe again. Maybe Fae just needed more horses around her to feel secure and that’s why she was mellow at the rescue and not so much when you rode her at your place. I think trying to get a mellow gelding would be your best bet. My big gelding, he’s a warmblood (half thoroughbred half Percheron) is super mellow and never had any problems with being on his own. If you are considering buying a horse I would look into draft crosses, they tend to be pretty mellow, safe but can be super athletic as well 🙂
Thank you for your advice Julie! I definitely think a gelding makes a lot more sense, and a quieter horse as well. I love draft crosses, but right now they seem to be a bit out of our price range! Hopefully soon we will find something just right for us. I appreciate you sharing your experience! It gives me more insight on my own. 😊