ne year ago I asked you guys for help. Not for me, but for a friend. And technically a friend of a friend. Specifically, a big guy named Mocha. My best friend since junior high had found her old horse in a state of malnutrition and abuse, and bought him back, desperate to save him from the owners he'd ended up with years after she had to sell him after high school. Already strapped for cash, adding a horse to the mix, especially one in such dire need of veterinary care, I reached out to you guys and asked for help, $1000 to help her cover the vet, farrier, and boarding bills, and you guys responded with over three times that amount. Just a few months after getting him back, he was already on his way back to his normal, healthy weight, the farrier was helping his feet get back to a healthy shape, and the chiropractor was getting his body feeling better in it's new, filled out, muscular composition.
Many friends asked Kristi when she'd be back to riding him. She often responded that it'd probably be at least a year, which they thought was odd, but Mocha was being ridden by a man well over 200 lbs in his malnourished state, which is hard to fathom, and she wanted to give Mocha time not only for his body to recover, but also his psyche.
A few months ago, Kristi moved Mocha from the barn she first boarded him at when she got him back, to a new facility with a trainer with years of experience capable of helping her train him, now that his body is healthy and his mind is itching for movement and direction. Now that he's healthy, his stubborn, ornery self is back and having an experienced trainer to help give him structure, learn how to move his body, and respond to the direction of a rider is helping him grow, not just physically, but mentally. He might not be a spring chicken anymore, but you'd never know looking at him! It was so wonderful seeing him feeling comfortable in his body and so willing to try new things. While I was a competitive jumper in high school, Kristi and Mocha were more of the trail riding types, so jumping is a new thing for this big guy! He's so eager and it's fun to see them together again doing something new!
Kristi has been trying to convince me to come take lessons at her new barn, and after visiting and watching her lesson on Mocha, I was so flooded with nostalgia. The smells, the feeling of following a horse over jumps, the dust in your nose after spending an afternoon in the arena. I spent so many years on the back of a horse, and even after ten years of not riding, it's something that's in my bones. I've been trying to convince my mom to bring my boots, pants, helmet and saddle from Anchorage the next time she visits!
I'm so proud of Kristi for all the hard work and sacrifices she's made for this big guy. Getting to watch the journey from day one, to this point, something we weren't sure we'd ever get to see, it's incredible. And without you guys, that journey would've been a lot harder. I know she could've done it, but damn it would've been hard. Those vet bills were crazy those first few months and having the financial support of your donations was such a blessing. It's still not easy, any one with a horse will know how crazy expensive they are, and Kristi works her ass off to be able to afford keeping him and training him, but there's nothing more worth the time and money than seeing these two reunited and thriving together. Thank you guys for donating, even if it was just a few dollars. Those few dollars added up and the result was so meaningful. Seeing Mocha like this just one year after he walked off the trailer with his bones showing through his rough, unbrushed coat, it's priceless.