Kayley's Horse

by Sheryl & David Schnare from Medicine Hat, AB
Mar 7, 15

A year and a half ago, our family moved from the Queen city (Regina) to The Gas city (Medicine Hat). It was around this time that our daughter Kayley, became interested in horses and the country life. 

She began to ask, and ask, and ask and ask about riding lessons. We wondered if this was a passing fad – however even the delay of a broken arm didn’t dampen her enthusiasm. We told her to be patient. We told her that when the timing was right, she would find somewhere to ride.

Kayley joined the local 4-H club, but what she really wanted was to be part of the horse club. For that she needed to have her own horse. We didn’t have the means to do that ¬– to get her a horse. 

Kayley was not deterred. She used her money, any money she received to purchase tack. She bought a halter, then a bridle, reins and a saddle. The fact that she didn’t have a horse to go with the gear didn’t concern her. 

Twice a month, she attended horse club sessions. She helped get the horses ready for class and to brush them down afterwards. She did not get to ride, but her passion did not go unnoticed.  

One of the moms saw her watching from the sidelines. She decided that she was going to do whatever it took to get Kayley a horse. They searched online. They kept coming back to the one ad. Could this be the one? Arrangements were made to go see the horse. 

We headed out early in the morning. It was a long drive. And as the winter sun was sinking toward the horizon, we finally arrived at our destination.

We learned that the horse, Jackson, had been abused by his previous owners. We learned that when attempts had been made to sell him at auction, he was so skittish that he was labeled a hopeless case and sold to the meat buyer. And we learned he was rescued from that fate by a horse-lover who sensed his potential and purchased him for trail rides. Unable to provide the attention he needed, she had reluctantly decided to sell him online. 

She told us that her horses chose their owners, that two other people had been to see Jackson that week and that she had refused to sell him to them because she didn’t feel either was the right fit. When Jackson met Kayley, there was an instant connection. He quieted as she approached. He leaned into her as she rubbed his neck. He stood stock still as she climbed on to his back, gazing at her as she murmured soothingly to him. Everyone there, everyone who was watching, was teary-eyed. 

Jackson had chosen.

He now lives in a pasture just outside of Medicine Hat. Every day after school, we stop by to see him. Medical concerns and trust issues have delayed Kayley’s riding lessons but she is waiting patiently and working with him all the same. “I’ll ride him when he’s ready”, she says. “In the meantime, I’ll just love him.” 

We’ve all learned some valuable life lessons through this experience. Lessons about perseverance and patience but most of all, love.