Stacey + Raphael
I felt it was the right time in my life to adopt a horse. I had moved my best friend’s horse to Montana and was volunteering at This Old Horse (TOH). I knew how good it felt to have that spirit in my life. Bonnie from TOH had become a friend and mentioned I might want to look at a horse named Raphael. I took the drive and with my then 14-year-old son to Raphael. He was extremely handsome. During the visit I accidently tripped and fell while walking him into the barn. I fell in the mud, water and muck. It filled my boots, covered my jeans and hands. He waited and I laughed; I was giddy. I felt connected to him immediately. When I asked my husband what he thought about me adopting this horse, he agreed with my decision because he knew the adoption would be good for me too.
I brought Raphael to a boarding ranch where a close friend of mine had her three horses, and it was a perfect match for both of us. He went from being a racehorse to simply being a horse, in a herd, with his forever person. I had no expectations of him, no requirements for him. I wanted him to be safe, fed and have free access to water and shelter. I wanted him to find himself as a horse. I wanted to build a relationship of trust and communication from the ground up and go from there.
The ranch he is at feeds him every evening. I drive the 30 miles out to him every morning and feed him in a pasture. Some days we just stand together, some days I groom him, others we go for walks or head to the arena and play. We have been together for two years, have had several emergency vet calls, x-rays and stitches. He went from being shut down to having his nose in everybody’s business, from bottom of the herd to #2; head administrator of the herd. He has a best friend named Cloud, and several friends which he plays, eats, sleeps and enjoys life with.
Last month he started lessons with a trainer, and we got him a saddle and had our first ride together. We play games like trotting at liberty in figure eights, step up on boxes, over rails. We investigate everything that he is curious about or scared about. Some days I just sit and he eats grass. I tell him he is my favorite and how much I love him. He nudges me gently with his nose or will rest his head on mine. We are friends that have come a long way and have a long time to continue our relationship. My goal is to have a seamless communication between us, to go on adventures big and small, trail rides, learn more tricks and enjoy ourselves.
What #RightHorse means to me
Everyone has a journey, some find their path right away, others take many roads. I appreciate the organizations that support horses on their journey.