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Saturday, October 17, 2015

Why it's Misty the horse, of course

It was a very difficult decision to give up our beautiful Belgian horse, Misty. She wasn’t a trained horse, but we were absolutely positive she had untapped skills and just needed the chance to display them. Unfortunately, the Farmer and I were completely ill-equipped to discover, train or utilize those skills.
Having a horse is a huge responsibility. We considered ourselves lucky to have gone through six years without any major medical bills or disasters. But it was time to find a new home for our 1800-lb pet. She needed to find out what it means to be a workhorse. Traipsing around the meadow all day after a mischievous donkey had to be boring at times.
For over two years we fiddled with the idea. We put an ad on one website or another, and didn’t renew them when they expired. I put posts on Facebook saying Misty was looking for a new home, and as soon as I got a response I took the offer away.
Finally, on St. Patrick’s Day 2014, the Farmer got a call from Roy Sherrer, who raises Belgian horses on a farm near Spencerville. He knew Misty well. Just like that, she was sold. I blame it on the Guinness.
Within a few weeks, Roy had Misty hitched up with another horse and pulling a wagon. We were surprised but oh so happy to hear that she was learning to be a horse.
And then, once trained, Misty was sold. To a farmer in Quebec. Roy came over to get us to sign some papers and he asked us how many times she had been hitched before. The answer was, well, never. Misty had been hitched once for a photo opportunity, at her original farm. But we hadn’t put as much as a saddle on her. He said she learned within just a few hours, to follow the lead of her hitch partner, and pull. We were very proud.
Roy said Misty’s new owner was going to take her to the International Plowing Match in September. I started to think about how I would find out when Misty was competing, so I could attend. I imagined the Farmer and me, in our plaid shirts, cowboy boots and jeans, Misty’s own cheering section.
Then, out of the blue, I got a message from a friend who had an almost unbelievable story. My uncle and his partner Christiane used to enjoy their visits to the farm, and Misty. Christiane was visiting her mother in Val des Monts Quebec recently when she heard a familiar snort from the farm next door. She walked over to take a closer look and couldn’t believe what she saw. “Misty!” The red-gold horse responded to her name. Christiane checked in with the elderly farmer who had just added the horse to his team and he confirmed her name and origin.
Christiane gave me some more info about Misty’s new home. Her owner hitches his team to wagons and sleighs in the winter, complete with jingle bells, and takes families for rides in the village. He has a beautiful spot in the valley and she will be very happy there. I felt much better, knowing where she was. I know I need to let her go and it’s all quite silly to be concerned for her happiness but it’s nice to hear she found a good home.
Next, I received an email from the granddaughter of Misty’s new owner. Sarah explained that her father didn’t speak much English, so she would be our go-between. She told me Misty wouldn’t be going to the plowing match. Apparently she didn’t get along with her new hitch partner, so they were back to square one. Well that was disappointing.
I told her Misty is used to following, not leading. She followed her sister around from the day she was born. And when her sister died, she turned around and there was Donkey.  I’m sure they know Misty’s character by now, but I thought I would add my two cents. Hopefully they will give her another chance.
I think Misty would really enjoy being part of the Christmas celebration in the little Quebec village, jingle bells on her halter, pulling a sleigh. She always loved the attention of people, and the excitement of the crowd. I hope she gets her act together and if they don’t have a strong lead horse, she might consider being one herself.


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