Diva (left) and Stasia (right) sharing the pasture after sorting out their differences.

PictureWMS Lucille Madline aka “Diva”

On Saturday, July 28, I completed the next step in my equestrian adventure. With the generous help of my friend Cindra, Diva came home.

Back in early April, my horse Stasia endured her regularly scheduled farrier appointment with her usual good grace. Six weeks later in mid-May, she lost her balance during her scheduled pedi-pedi. (For those who don’t know, a farrier is blacksmith who trims horses’ hooves as well as fashions horse shoes.) Since Stasia is an ancient 33 years old this year, I decided that her loss of balance signaled an end to her active career. I retired her and embarked upon a search for a new trail mount.

After making some phone calls and networking, my friend Kim who owns Good Thunder Farm put me in touch with Immage Performance Horses. Owner Chuck Flickinger had a green broke 10-year old Morgan mare for sale: Diva. I talked with him, drove to Camden, saw the horse, and put money down. Over the next four weeks, he continued with training her and I drove over once a week for supervised riding. Our last ride occurred on Friday, July 27–a trail ride at Hueston Woods State Park.

After the first 10 or 15 minutes of looky-loo and snorting and general excited foolishness, Diva settled down and got to business. Mud? No problem. Logs and sticks? No problem. A ditch? No way. OK, we found her sticking point and I lost that debate. Otherwise, she did beautifully while freaked out at every spiderweb we passed through.

On Saturday, she declined to load into Cindra’s trailer, a step-up. With some persuasion, she jumped in and occasionally expressed her annoyance as we drove 70 miles back to Springfield. She walked off the trailer without issue. I led her into the pasture, removed her halter, and prayed she wouldn’t hurt Stasia, who doesn’t quite realize how fragile those old bones are.

The first meeting of the two mares went well: a snort, some squealing, a strike. (See the video below.) No injuries, though. After a few hours, I confined Stasia in the barn and led Diva to water. She drank. I showed her the hay. She nibbled. I let Stasia out and the fireworks began.

To make a long story short, Diva cleaned her clock. Two alpha mares had to decide upon a hierarchy, and I’m not quite convinced that they really have sorted things out. However, I suspect that Diva is at the top of the 2-horse herd. Regardless, the mares appear to be getting along now. Whew!

Sunday, I plan to go trail riding. Cindra will bring Henry, her steady Appaloosa gelding who can be relied upon to stay calm, come hell or high water. We’ll take it slowly and the duration of our ride will be decided by Diva’s behavior and my nerves.

​I’m not as fearless as I used to be.