Janna + T’Challa
I fell in love. The end.
Kidding about the end, of course, but not the love! I fell in love. The beginning. Except that I wasn’t in love in the beginning. In the beginning, there was a stud who had lived, largely unhandled, in a 20×20 stall for 10 years. Enter Mountain Shadows Equine Revival, a Laramie-based horse rescue where I was a volunteer just beginning to learn about horse training.
Step 1: gelding; Step 2: rechristening for a new start so we named him named T’Challa to give him a name for grace, intelligence, and loyalty; Step 3: halter training.
At the time, the head trainer had a lot on her plate, so I took a gamble and stepped up. That gamble ended up in a few tough situations and hard sessions as T’Challa learned to be handled by humans. There were many tears and much gnashing of teeth. He was difficult. But he was difficult because he didn’t know what trust was, and there was no way I was giving up on him. We worked on teaching him how to move his feet, how to respond to a flag and how to be confident in new situations like encountering a tarp. Finally we introduced him to the saddle, and pretty soon we worked up a friendship, so that the first ride was smooth.
We worked all summer, and then it was time for the rescue to post him for adoption. This is what we’d trained for, to learn enough about how to be a people horse, so that he could enter the world at large with comfort and confidence, but I panicked. The feeling in my stomach thinking about him with someone else was loss and grief and that horrible green-eyed monster, jealousy. My one thought: T’Challa couldn’t go, because he was mine. So I adoption-failed him and he joined our family. We discovered together how much he loves trails, so now we’re training towards endurance riding to give his active mind and body a job he’ll love. This is our beginning.
What #RightHorse means to me
Second chances, education, community, support, and hope.