Jet first appeared in my life sometime in 2006 or so. At the time, she was being kept in a pasture with a little mustang filly of no relation to her and I would wander by on my elderly Thoroughbred as we roamed around the trails on the ranch where both Jet and Flair were being boarded. I liked her, always had a nice pat for her if I happened to be on foot, and thought she was a nice little mare. Little did I know at the time that she would become such a big part of my life in the future. And then it happened. Possibly one of the worst moments in my entire life and my world came crashing down when I got the phone call that my old Thoroughbred was in distress, and he ultimately had to be euthanized. It was, as the saying goes, the end of the world as I knew it.
But my love of horses could not be denied. And I knew Flair wouldn’t want me to stop riding altogether. Two weeks after his death, I climbed back into the saddle of a friend’s horse, and then basically for the next week or so after that, tried to regain my joy of life in the saddle. My friends were kind and let me ride their horses, but ultimately the problem that came out was if I was riding their horse, who could they ride so we could ride the ranch trails together?
The solution … was Jet. By this time, she was alone in her pasture, was suffering from severe dermatitis brought on by midges in the summer’s heat and was a cribber. Her pasture ended up being rented out to someone who brought in two Arabs (and eventually became one of my good friends) so she went up to a shared pasture. Nobody was doing anything with her, the owner lived out of town, and I gathered up my courage and asked the barn owner if I could have his phone number to make a half-lease proposition to him. I had to sweeten the deal pretty good, I can tell you that, but ultimately she was more or less avaliable for a lease, and I started trail riding with her.
Those five months I got with her were healing. Granted, we had our share of adventures and mishaps, like being stung severely by yellowjackets on a trail ride in 100-degree heat or nearly having her jump on top of me when we were crossing a stream, but it was good. She needed someone to love her and I needed a horse to love, although I wasn’t quite ready to buy a horse yet.
And then it fell apart. I won’t go into details here, but it was agonizing. Her owner took her away, and I never thought I’d ever see Jet again. I still thought about her, every moment and every time something would remind me, and I’d wonder how she was. But I figured it was a lost cause, and that I would never see her again.
I’ve learned since then — never ever EVER give up hope. Because as it turned out, she came back into my life in January of 2011, and I’ve been able to love her every day since. Jet has since retired from riding, having been recently diagnosed with DSLD. Her main job in life right now is to be Mitch’s companion, my grass walk partner, and the best little black mare the world has ever known.