By far the least discussed horse in my life would have to be Joy. Her registered name was Rosy Eyed Harlan, and she was a 5 year old dun quarter horse mare. We called her Joy.
She quite possibly owes her life, and her colt’s life, to my parents. My parents were never ‘buy a horse’ people. They loved the flexibility of a lease for me, and that’s what I had done my entire junior riding years. However, when a friend of theirs called urgently asking for help to rescue a neglected pair of horses in the boondocks of the city, they couldn’t say no.
Afraid the horses would be in too bad of shape, they actually went and picked up Joy and moved her to a local boarding facility without ever telling me. Their friend, a horseman himself, took her yearling. The neglecting owners surrendered them both for less than $100, especially considering Mom was set to get up in their face about the state of the horses.
Joy was a mess when she arrived. She hadn’t been properly handled, shod, or ridden in several years. After my parents revealed my new little rescue mare to me, I spent the next 2 weeks just getting to the point of being able to touch her. Halter went on next, and things began to come more easily.
I spent hours and hours in the round pen; trying to balance her weight gain with handling, training. She was a couple hundred pounds under weight, but had a hearty appetite.
Within a few months Joy started to fill out and shine. Looking just as pretty as I always thought she’d be. The picture below is her at just over 6 months with us.
When I went back to school that fall, she came with me. We rode a few times a week, working on her basics. The hardest part was her hatred for the ring…which was my favorite place. Within 8 months of her rescue she could walk, trot, canter, steer (mostly) and jump little cross rails under saddle.
Sadly schoolwork became much more intense, and Joy’s hatred of arena work became worse and worse.
One day we went for a long trail ride. She was brilliant and completely at ease. In my heart I knew that this is where she really belonged. Through some family connections I found out a woman in the state over who was about to retire her trail horse, and wanted a younger one to bring along. She wanted a pet, and a trail companion. She could provide a wonderful life for my little Joy. The deal was made and while handing Joy over was difficult, I knew that she would love her new life.
And she does, I got a few updates in the first year or so from her new owner. I heard that she’s fat as a little pig and loving being a trail horse. She was the first horse I truly owned, and I’m so glad that I was able to find her a forever home-even if it wasn’t with me.