So today's post is going to be about a horse that holds a special place in my heart. He is a horse that was rented by the camp that I taught at in NY for the past 4 summers. Each year the camp rents 14-18 horses from the same owner. It breaks my heart that the horses don't have families and actually don't even have names. The owner has about 200 horses that he rents out to camps/trail rides/ranches/etc. The horses that we had would spend the summers at camp and then would be shipped to Texas to be used on a ranch for the winter. We were never guaranteed the same horses back but since we took such good care of the horses the owner was usually willing to try and keep our 'herd' together for us. There were a few that would come back from their winter as a totally different horse. A horse that was previously a trusting child's mount would come back as a terrified, nervous wreck with new scars. Unfortunately being a children's camp there was little we could do but try and help them trust us again in a very short period of time. If that didn't work the owner was called and we were brought a different horse. I remember this happening on two specific occasions- Jet and Peaches, but I will save their stories for another post.
My first year I bonded with most all of the horses but none more than a little pony that I named Cosmo. Looking at him he wasn't anything super special. Nothing severely wrong with his conformation but he wasn't anything fantastic. His chest and front legs had scars all over them and he was clearly not trusting of humans. I think that it took me that entire first summer to actually get him to eat a treat out of a bucket. Luckily for both him and I, he was returned to camp for all 4 years that I worked there. Each summer we would spend a few days at the beginning getting to know each other again and getting to be friends. Then anytime I had free I would take him out for a hack to a huge field at the top of the trails and would let him run for a few minutes. I would spend many of my nights off in the barn grooming him and fussing over him (other horses too but he got the most of my attention by far).
The thing that worried me more than anything was the end of each summer when we had to load him on the trailer and say goodbye. I couldn't guarantee his safety and couldn't even guarantee that I would ever see him again. I would bawl my eyes out year after year and then hope and pray for 10 months that he wasn't hurting and was safe. For 3 summers after that first year I would head straight for the pasture when we got to camp from the airport and hold my breath until I saw him again.
It is that time of year again- and although I am not going back to camp I am holding my breath. Waiting and hoping to see that he is still OK. There were other horses that I worried about to but none like Cosmo.
I didn't have much money but I actually tried to buy him off the owner last year and he didn't really respond other than to say, "Why would I sell him when I make that much each summer renting him out?"
I wanted to scream, "Because he deserves better than this! Because he deserves to be loved on and spoiled! Because he needs me! And because to be completely honest I need him."
You see the first summer I met Cosmo was the summer that my mom died. I know all of you non-horsey people won't understand without me trying to explain the bond I formed with that horse but all of you horsey people probably have tears forming in your eyes right now. No matter all the love and support you can get from family and friends, the support and unconditional love you get from a horse is different. I cried into that pony's mane every night and although he did not understand he would nuzzle my hip and let me cry.
I actually thought that this summer would be my chance to try and buy him again. But since I hurt my knee and am off work all of my savings will be going to bills. I suppose I will have another 10 months at the end of the summer holding my breath and saving my pennies to hopefully give sweet little Cosmo the rest and retirement that he deserves and that he has earned.