So, the search for a solution to the "Diva problem" continues.
I thought I'd found a sensible swap: a 10-year old, well trained Halflinger mare for my 11-year old, green broke Morgan mare. I liked the mare well enough and she suited my purpose, but I didn't feel any sort of connection to her. The deal fell through, as the Halflinger's owner decided she couldn't bear to part with the horse. It's probably better that way. The Halflinger's owner offered to purchase Diva for a price much lower than what I paid for her.
I've invested almost $10,000 into Diva (purchase price + training fees). If I sell her, I at least want to recoup the purchase price.
Another person contacted me, offering to swap her 18-year old, "performance trained" Quarter Horse mare. I drove 100 miles one way on Sunday afternoon to see that horse.
The mare is indeed well-trained, not pretty. She ties. She appears unflappable. She also has a calcified knee that makes me leery of accepting. The horse's age isn't a deal breaker. The lovely Lady Anastasia was 19 when I brought her home 15 years ago. But I have never known a Quarter Horse to live past its mid-twenties, so I'd have to be prepared for only a few years of being able to use the horse. (Morgans tend to be a long-lived breed and I anticipated getting 20 years out of Diva before needing to retire her.)
The Quarter Horse appears to be exactly what I want: not too large, well-trained, and a mare. Except ... she doesn't make my heart go pitter-patter. My heart flutters with excitement when I look upon "the monster." Despite my difficulties with her, I like Diva. This Morgan is what my dreams are made of, and I very badly want to make it work.
(A lot of other equestrians are puzzled by why I prefer mares to geldings. People forget that mares, like stallions, still have all their hormones. I find them more responsive than geldings. I don't mind a mare's moodiness; I understand it. I'm rather moody myself.)
But I can provide the home the old Quarter Horse mare needs, the kind of home her owner wants for her.
What to do? What to do? I discussed this with my husband Sunday evening.
I've already decided against a straight swap. However, I have another option brewing in my mind. Now I just have to see whether the Quarter Horse's owner will go for it. It will mean that I spend more money on Diva, probably a lot more money. It might mean that I end up with three horses to feed--at least until Stasia passes away. (Sure, it's morbid, but Stasia's 34 years and declining rapidly. I have to keep that in mind, because death will come for her sooner rather than later.)
In another update, I finished a short story written for an anticipated second compilation of stories in collaboration with Russ Towne. While the stories will still fall under the "western fiction" umbrella, we're focusing more on romantic storylines, i.e., western romances. They'll continue to be sweet, meaning not explicit and suitable for a general audience. I have to admit, writing convincing romance without getting down and dirty is a challenge.