I have wonderful parents. They have been so tolerant of me for so long, and for so many reasons, that I don't think I could ever pay them back. There's no telling what things would be like today without the love and support of my parents! Thank you!
They indulged me when I was only 10 years old and bought me a goofy, sweet, QH gelding named AJ. Two years later, when AJ couldn't be ridden any longer, they leased me a new horse, and then eventually helped me purchase yet another horse, all the while helping me with AJ. They took care of him while I was away in the Marines, when I came back home, and during my move back to the south. I was finally able to have AJ with me in 2004 when I lived in Virginia and he's been with me ever since.
With all the craziness going on in my life, including everything that's been going on with Lilly, my parents offered to take AJ about a year ago, but I decided to keep him here. With the shenanigans going on at my current barn and the trouble I've been having finding him a good place to live, they've again tossed out the idea of sending him back home to Michigan.
I never really entertained the idea of sending him home because then he's not with me and I'd miss him! However, after getting that call from his potential BO about not having room, and stressing over what to do, I've been giving it some thought.
They have an older Appendix gelding that my dad used to ride on the county Sheriff's Posse, but he's no longer doing that. Justus is officially retired and hangs out at the barn by himself. I've been telling them that Justus is lonely and wants a buddy, but they don't want the added expense of another horse just to keep him company. If I sent AJ home, he could keep Justus company but I would continue to pay for all his care, so they wouldn't be any added expenses.
While there were probably quite a few reasons why AJ lost weight this summer (mostly not enough food), I think the heat also had something to do with it. We're always hot and humid here anywhere from about May until October, but last summer was particularly humid and it seemed to last forever! When Lilly was sweating a little bit, AJ was sweaty all over and had salt streaks on his hindquarters. That's good, of course, because at least he's sweating, but he was sweating so much that he had me worried. The summers seem to be getting harder on him, and even with his arthritis, he tends to look and feel better in the winter. Michigan, of course, is much more mild in the summer, but typically much colder in the winter (although not this year, it seems!).
From time to time I've thought about a retirement home for him, but there aren't any nearby, and if I'm going to send him off to a 'retirement home', what better place than with my mom and dad? I would never have to worry about how he was being taken care of and he'd be with people who love him as much as I do.
I think it would be a good situation for all involved, but I sure would miss seeing his sweet face.