On Saturday one friend came out and we took my horse out to the hayfield to graze together. We talked for a long time about many things, including why it was time to send him on.
Today another friend came and spent some quiet time with him, happy to groom and then spend some alone time with him in a choice part of the hayfield. We talked a bit as well, shying away from the true reason for her visit as it was very busy at the barn today. She sent me an email later thanking me for giving her the chance to say goodbye, and for sharing him with her over the years we've known each other.
When I got my first horse I had trouble understanding why people would so often get others to ride their horses. I wanted to ride too much myself to be able to share my first horse very often. Now I think there is a progression in the journey of horse ownership, starting with keeping the horse's training on track in the early years, to later offering a few special rides to others, and then coming to where it is important to share that horse's special qualities with those who would appreciate them.
My horse is not flashy, beautifully conformed, or super talented but his generosity and heart are truly exceptional. On this Thanksgiving weekend I am supremely thankful not only to have had this horse in my life, but also to have these good friends with whom I could share my special horse.