In sale or rescue horse ads, you sometimes read, "Mr. Oats is looking for his forever home." When my mom purchased her gelding Dusty, she said he had his forever home with her. By this, she meant that she would never sell him or give him away.
As a youth, I moved up to larger or more challenging ponies and horses. I cried every time I sold one, but back then I did not have this forever perspective. But now, if at all possible, I have no plans to ever sell or give away My Boy.
Think about a horse's lifespan, say, an average of 25-30 years. Imagine how many times some horses out there exchange owners. And when I really think about it, I find it kind of sad. What if children exchanged homes as often as this? Some of you might say that I am comparing apples and oranges (that is, comparing children and horses. Wait, shouldn't the horses should be apples and the children be oranges? Oh, whatever.) But if children were to change families as often as horses change owners, can you can imagine the variety of problems they would have? Yet, it appears that we just expect horses to adjust to changes in home, sport, training, climate, riding styles, handling, attention.....and suffer no ill or negative consequences.
Show horses are the obvious example that come to mind. They are often passed on from rider to rider as they age and trek their way through the competitive world. Their riders win their awards and make their monies, then the horse is sold to someone else hoping to reach the same goal. If these show veteran horses could talk, would they speak to a colorful life, rich with travel and adventure and new experiences? Or would they speak to lack of connection, consistency, trust issues, and attachment? Do they miss their former homes, people, and pasture mates? I am, by no means, saying that nobody should sell or pass on one of their horses. In fact, if nobody did, I wouldn't have had the opportunity to own My Boy.
Yes, both horses and children are fairly resilient and adaptable. My main point is, well- I do not really have one. I am just bringing up a random thought that popped into my head, truly, this happens to me on a regular basis, I just rarely share them with anyone. And I have a psychology degree and some master's work in counseling and I am interested in social behavior and over-analyze everything.
I am hoping to add some stability in my 14 year old horse's life. He had two owners in the year and a half before he came to me. That is a lot of change. I think it has taken him a year and half just to get to know me. He is part of my family now. In his forever home. Knock on wood.