You and I, my friend, have known each other a long time. Since you took your first wobbly steps and latched onto your dam. My money and intention helped make you, handsome horse that you turned out to be.

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Time has passed since then, and each year your bones ache a bit more from wear, and your back gives way to gravity as it sways closer to the ground. Each year, I know the inevitable is closer, too.

This I promise you.

I will not conceal your ailments and pass your problems—our problems—onto an unsuspecting new owner or leave you at a rescue that already has enough needs to meet without me adding to its burden. I won’t lead you through a noisy auction hall or dump you at a feed lot, pretending to not know your fate while at the same time choosing that horrific fate for you.

I will spend money on you—a lot—as your body ages and you require more care. I won’t recoup those costs in riding, but you don’t owe me anything. You’ve carried me over mountain trails and around arenas. Together, we’ve logged miles and collected ribbons. You’ve quietly stood next to me when I’ve cried tears of disappointment, and you’ve helped me reach goals only the human mind could create. You have given me much and asked for little.

To be fed. To be safe. To be loved.

Now, I will share you with those who can learn from you while you still have many gifts to give; but I won’t make you their responsibility.

In the end, I will make that hardest decision for you.

And I will miss you.

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