Sunday, March 4, 2012

Saying Goodbye to Maverick

 Today has been very hard. Actually, the first part of the day was pretty fun. We got to go ride horses at Scott's Ranch. But the purpose of the trip was to tell Anna that we can't keep Maverick. Scott has been training him for almost a year and he is just plain dangerous. He will be riding great, even working cows, and out of nowhere he explodes. Not only has he bucked Scott off, but he's also gone after Scott after he bucked him off. He's just completely unpredictable, which makes him even more dangerous. It was even harder to tell her because a few months ago, he was doing so good that we really thought he was going to work out. I've posted before about Maverick and her connection with him. Ugh. Just so hard. Of all the Mustangs Scott has trained...this has to be one that doesn't take the training. Just. So. Hard.

 The last time we were here, Anna was able to basically walk up to Maverick and he let her pet him. This time was totally different. In a way, I'm glad he was so wild. I think it helped her realize how much Maverick has changed. Scott had a very hard time catching him. He had to rope him, and even then it was a struggle.

 Beautiful, yet the potential to be deadly. Maverick is a wild horse and we've spent a lot of time talking about how Maverick is not a bad horse, he's just wild. And some horses just cannot be trained...the wild can't be taken out of them. The movie Spirit has actually been quite helpful in understanding this.

 This horse has captured my daughter's heart. As she told me tonight:
"Mommy, you know what's deep in my heart? Maverick. He'll always be there, deep in my heart. In a little corral."

 I am still so amazed at Anna's innate sense with a horse. She has an unending supply of patience and calmness. After witnessing how wild (and frankly a bit scary!) Maverick was as Scott caught him, she still had no qualms with walking up to Maverick in a calm, quiet way. I have no doubt that Scott's presence has a lot to do with it. But she also just has a "sixth sense" when it comes to horses.

She slowly worked her way to his nose until he let her touch him. And when he raised his head away from her, she gently pulled down on the lead rope.

The whole time she was petting Maverick, Scott was explaining to Anna how dangerous he is. He didn't flat out say that we can't keep Maverick. I kind of think Anna knew it, but since it wasn't plainly said she could deny it. 

 After petting Maverick for a bit, Scott asked if she wanted to ride. Duh! ;) He saddled up Tigger for her. He's an old horse (too old according to Anna...not fast enough!). She got some more lessons in riding. She catches on pretty quickly and is doing good. We're hoping to be able to take her over there every week this summer for a horsemanship class!

 Scott talked to her some more while he was saddling Tigger. By her expression in this picture, I think you can tell she was getting the picture.
Just before supper, we went to help Scott feed some horses he has in a pasture. On the way, Scott told Anna, "Your mom & dad need to get you a horse." She told him she already had a horse. I knew then that I would just have to flat-out say "We can't keep Maverick." She clammed up and wouldn't say anything. As we were standing in the pasture, I asked Anna if she understood that we can't keep Maverick. She started crying a little bit and asked, "Do we have to sell Maverick??" I tried my best to explain again why we can't keep him. And I shared something Scott told me. Several months ago, Scott was using Maverick at Cowboy Church almost every week. One week, he showed them how he could get Maverick to lay down flat (a huge feat that shows how much a horse trusts you) and compared it to submitting to Christ. He said he still has people come up to him and tell him how much that meant to them, how it touched them. I told Anna that even if that is the only "purpose" Maverick can serve for us, that's pretty awesome...for her horse to be used to teach others about Christ! I'm not sure how much she understood. She cried just a tiny bit, but being surrounded by horses, she couldn't stay sad for very long. She seemed to be handling it pretty well...much better than I thought she would. But then we got home and it was bedtime. We talked a little bit and then she asked if she could say her bedtime prayers. She prayed silently and when she finished, I could tell that she was pretty upset but trying not to let it out. I told her it was okay to be sad and to cry. That was all she needed to hear. We talked and cried and talked and cried for over 2 1/2 hours. I could tell that as long as she talked about something, even if it was horses, she could keep herself distracted from Maverick. But as soon as she stopped talking, she would just break down again. Absolutely broke this Mama's heart. I feel just awful. Maybe we shouldn't have done the whole horse thing this way...maybe we shouldn't have told her Maverick could be her horse and just waited til we knew for sure...maybe, maybe, maybe. But as I told Anna, God has a purpose in this. Put all our sorrows and hurts in His hands and let Him heal our hearts and lean on Him even more. That's what I told Anna...I think it's a good lesson for more than just Anna. I would appreciate your prayers for Anna's tender heart in the days to come. I know it's going to be very hard for her.


Roger & Kathy Stoll said...

As sad as it is and difficult to go thru this, I believe we do our children a disservice by shielding them from the realities of life. Life is hard and we have to learn to say good-bye. It is NEVER easy, no matter how often we do it. And no matter how difficult it seems right now, I believe Anna will be a bit better, bigger, more mature because of this. And, just think what a great time you got to spend with her crying and talking. Those moments shouldn't be taken for granted.

Jaime said...

You're a good mom, Jen. I think kids need to learn the difficult lessons in life too, even if it is heartbreak and disappointment. She'll have to face them someday. She has great parents who will help her with this heartbreak. Hopefully she can find a gentle horse to be hers very soon!

Jennifer said...

Thank you Kathy & Jaime. Your encouragement means a lot!