This isn’t the post I planned to write. Teddy was the horse we plucked out of a field with his ribs showing in desperate need of some TLC. But once we saw him move, he had a fanciness about him. Everyone who saw him thought he was something special. He was the poster child of Nalani – and oh, what a story. Take a horse like him out of a field and watch him go on to greatness. But that is not the story I am writing because that’s not the reality for Teddy.
After months of training at Ohana, we were given the opportunity to take Teddy to Morningside Training Farm in the Plains, VA to have him evaluated by head trainer Skyeler Voss. Skyeler and Morningside are highly respected in the eventing world, and even though Skyeler has a waiting list for training, she agreed to take a look at him. The day we went, I was a nervous wreck. I wanted Teddy to do his best, but at the same time show her who he really is so we could make the best game plan for his future. After watching Teddy trot, canter and go over a few jumps, Skyeler was enthusiastic about him; she said he is the kind of horse who would fit in well with their program. With a few months of training and the visibility he would get from being at Morningside he would be on his way to finding a safe, loving home. So, like any good mother would do, I cried some (okay many) tears, packed up his things including his favorite treats, and took Teddy to Morningside eager to see what the future would hold.
His trainer, Erin, sent me daily updates and pictures of his progress. The first time I went to watch him jump, everyone told me that he had quickly become the favorite horse in the barn because he is so sweet and gentle. Most importantly Erin loved him and I knew he was in great hands. He was doing great; we were on schedule. Teddy is a perfectionist and has anxiety, but Erin would give him a sugar cube immediately after mounting every time so he would learn that it’s a positive experience. She took him on long trail rides so he wasn’t always working in the ring. He had some back soreness, but he was working hard so that made sense. When the back soreness continued and he seemed a little off, Erin called me and made an appointment with the vet. Two hours into his exam, I was overwhelmed with words like ‘bone scan”, “ultra sound”, “mentally frazzled”. After collaborating, the vet and two professional trainers recommended that Teddy stop training and just rest and start over. Ugh, I didn’t think it was possible for my heart to break again.
But then it hit me. Nalani isn’t just about taking horses who can achieve greatness and helping make that possible. Nalani is for horses exactly like Teddy. The future is uncertain for him. The truth is we have invested thousands of dollars into a horse that is currently still looking for his calling. And horses who have not found a path to usefulness are the horses that end up at the auction priced low for a kill buyer. But we won’t let that happen. We will continue to invest time, patience, medical help, training, and whatever else it takes to find the right role for him. We won’t just give up on him. Whether he becomes a ribbon winner, a trail horse, or a beloved pasture pet, Teddy will live out his days safely. And I know I tend to dream big, but I have a picture in my head of Teddy wearing that blue ribbon one day. And me standing right beside him.