After 11 years I made a decision to sell my beloved black horse Hershey. I did not make this decision lightly! I had toyed with the idea for the past couple of years but could never bring myself to do it.
Now this may seem crazy since I adore Hershey and have had some amazing times with him. But, I always felt he could do and be so much more than just a trail horse. So I aspired to become that competitive jumping rider that he really needed. Unfortunately, life got in the way of my ambitions and I had to keep putting it aside and my older daughter had moved on from jumping him to other things in her life. Finally it became apparent to me that Hershey wanted more and I wasn’t able to give that to him. This probably sounds like a cop-out or excuse but it was something I really felt in both my gut and heart! Our trail rides had become “power rides” and Hershey and I always left the rest of my family way behind. His impatience with standing around and waiting grew worse and he was always looking for that next big log to leap over on the trail.So, with conviction in my heart, I took Hershey to several people for an evaluation on where he was in his dressage (something he tolerated) and his jumping ability. Dressage was so-so, but jumping…that he could do! I took him to Holly Johns, a local jumping trainer, who put a student on him and ran him through a three jump line-up. She started him at about 2 feet and after a few rounds of that raised the height. By the time we finished, over a dozen rounds through that course of three, he was jumping over 3′-6″ with ease! And he wasn’t even in very good shape! Holly put me in touch with Susandown in California who told me she could easily sell him for me. So on Dec. 11th I made a trip down to Northern California and left Hershey in Susan’s expert hands. Hershey and I arrived in CA after a 10 hour trip with the wonderful help of my good friend Marvin Pierce of Pierce’s Cow Dogs doing the hauling! The next morning when I got to the barn to watch Susan ride and video Hershey, I saw a transformed horse. He looked stunning and not at all bothered by his long journey the day before. He performed stellar and jumped beautifully. Susan was able to put together video and pictures of him that day and already had some folks lined up to come check him out. Within 9 days Hershey found a new and incredible home with a young woman who wanted to compete on him in eventing.
Once Hershey was on his way to a new home, I had to start the process of finding a replacement. This was going to be tough. I had to really assess what I wanted out of a horse and the effort I was going to invest in myself to get to where I thought I wanted to go! I knew that I still wanted to hit the trails on a regular basis – that was a given. But, I also knew that I wanted to do jumping (ironic) but I needed a horse I could grow with in this area as I hadn’t done jumping since I was a kid in pony club. So, I needed a horse that was as much a novice as I was and then I knew that I needed to get serious about honing my jumping skills so we could grow together.
I started looking at several possibilities. All unbroke as I was determined that I wanted to start my own horse. Color wasn’t a criteria but as fate would have it (ironic again), I knew of a young Irish Draft Sporthorse who was for sale and who happened to be … black. I went up to see her and instantly fell in love. I knew if I got this filly I’d have my hands full as she was one of the biggest horses I’d ever own and her former owner hadn’t been able to do much with her in the last year so there was a level of brattiness that was going to be a challenge! But oh what potential she could have. Within a week this lovely, huge, black filly, Pearl, was brought to the barn I boarded at and thus began my new start, with a new horse!
And after several months, with some pining away for Hershey while I struggled with those difficult first moments with Pearl, I contacted Susan and asked how Hershey was doing. Sometimes this can be a dicey deal…inquiring after a horse you sold because you had to be prepared to get an answer that might not make you all that happy. Susan sent me an answer via pictures…and my heart burst with joy to see my beloved Hershey doing what he was truly meant to be doing!