This is the post I’ve been waiting to write!
This is the story of the day my life changed.
This is the day that my life was completed.
This is the story of how Manny became mine!
For our story to make sense, I have to take you back to the clinic I did with Heather’s horse Spud. Little did I know, this was the start of a much bigger story! As I was riding, the ladies were talking…
Manny was having some issues with his SI joint at PARDS and was not rideable. After a
month off, I found out from PARDS that Manny was retiring from the program. BUT! He was going back to Heather Hoggan, who was Manny’s former owner. I texted Heather in a frantic manner to ask her what was going to happen with Manny. I found out later that as I was texting her, she was texting Jill asking her what she should say to me! Well those two broke my heart (but for the best reason! Xoxo). Heather told me that Manny was “going to Edmonton to be a pasture companion horse.” After she told me this, I truly believed Manny was done.
I didn’t find out that “Operation Manny and Aly” was in cahoots weeks prior to me finding out what they were planning. Everybody; my mom, Jill, Heather, Sally, Nicola and Stephanie were planning something BIG and all my family was in on it!
So, I was sick for about a week prior. This was supposed to happen the week before. On September 19, my mom told me that we were going to Sally’s to have a “horse day with the ladies (i.e. Heather and Jill). I was totally game for it and didn’t expect anything! I didn’t even think anything when mom put treats in my chair and my helmet in the van! All I thought was, “okay, for Spud or Luke!”. As far as I knew, Manny was headed for Edmonton.
When we got to Sally’s we drove down to the arena and I saw two fabulous people taking pictures, Jill, Sally, and Nicola! I didn’t recognize that it was Marilyn Grubb and Sandy Sargent. Until after the fact!
So we unloaded and visited. Jill told me that I needed to, “Turn around and face away from the arena because there was a horse that was going to come out who had never seen a wheelchair before” and I TOTALLY bought it! Because some horses do freak out at wheelchairs. That’s the last time I believe anybody!
Now, I don’t remember exactly what Jill said to get me to turn around but, when I turned around, it was Manny with Heather!
Now this happened so fast! My eyes were bulging out of my head! I had thought they brought Manny to say goodbye. I’m trying to hold myself together. I can feel the tears coming on, thinking; ‘this is the last time I’ll see you”, Later, I found out that Heather had a whole thing she wanted to say but she narrowed it down to, “He’s yours!”
Well I start bawling.
Jill starts bawling.
Mom starts and we all start crying! Manny knew what was up! He was already giving me nose kisses and putting his head in my lap looking for cookies!
I was overwhelmed! I could not stop laughing, crying, and well, screaming! I was with the people I loved, just given the horse that does everything for me. Finding out he was my horse and I could go play with and ride him at any time, going to be given lessons from Jill Jardie once again. Able to do clinics and shows and not having to try to find a horse I could borrow to ride. Was incredible!
Of course then, we signed the paperwork and it became very real! I was still in tears! Stephanie was also in on it, so we had to call her to tell her that this just went down! On the way home, I looked at my phone and Steph had texted me prior to us calling her. Her message said, “So don’t you have some pretty freaking huge exciting news for me!?!” I can’t believe everybody kept him a secret for so long!
Then I found out the game plan. Manny was going to live at Sally and Nicola’s. Once he was rehabilitated and rideable again, I was going to take lessons on him from Jill, compete in gold shows, and wherever the road took us! I was going to have to put in the work to get him back to the rideable, show horse that he was!
Getting to bond with him on a completely new level was, and is, unbelievable! In just under a month, he was rideable once again. All the trips up and down that hill, having to literally drag him some days, paid off! I am able to do all the things I have always wanted to do with a horse! Our connection has grown so much in the 5 short months I have owned him! When I don’t see him for a week or two, when I get out there and he sees me, he goes to the gate and whinnies for me! Before I got him, it felt like my heart had a hole. Only getting to ride and see him once a week, just wasn’t cutting it anymore for where my riding was taking me. I want to be able to do clinics and compete in shows and hopefully, one day, the Olympics. You sort of need a horse for that! He and all the people along the way, have taught me so much and will continue too. Like what kind of horse follows his owner in her chair and trots at liberty with her? Mine does!
So thank you to everybody that made and continues to make this happen! It has been an incredible journey! I am so looking forward to seeing where 2017 will take us! Manny and I love you!