“I don’t feel attached to my new horse…why?”

I recently came across this question in one of my Facebook groups. “I don’t feel attached to my new horse…why?” It was after the girl had had to put down her old horse and she had gotten a new one and he was perfect for her in every way. But she didn’t feel the same click with the new horse and was worried something was wrong.

It’s 100% normal.

When I first got Jim, it wasn’t like an immediate love at first sight, we are bonded at the hip feeling. I was still mending my wounds a bit and trying to figure things out. Jim – like the horse for the other girl – was perfect for me. He had the right attitude, build, potential that I needed. He was sensitive and sweet and would take care of me. But those first few months took work. Over time, going to see him multiple times a week at the barn, grooming him, riding him, pampering him, our relationship began to grow. It’s now over a year and a half later and we have that attached at the hip, trusting relationship. Now he nickers at me when he sees me and I know all of his quirks and habits and things that make him Jim.

It’s ok when you’re going through a transition, no matter if you had to sell your old horse or put them down or it was the ending of a lease. All of us equestrians have been through this before. It’s not an easy feeling and it can be a hard time. But don’t beat yourself up when you don’t immediately have that relationship with your new equine. Give it time to develop. Although the place in your heart for your old horse will never go away, you’ll find a new spot just for your new partner.

A new set of hooves

As I mentioned in my blog post about saying goodbye to Jack, when one door closes, another opens. While I bid ado to my friend, I said hello to a new one.

Down in the lower barn, at the way end of the aisle on the left sat “Jim.” He had just come to the barn in December as a lesson horse. At 15.2 hands, Jim is a solid black registered Paint. With some white stockings up his leg and a funny backward question mark looking stripe, he also has one of the biggest hearts I’ve ever known.

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Jim is almost the complete opposite of Jack. He’s 11, broke, he jumps, does barrels, trail rides. You name it, Jim does it. The best part? My husband can also ride him since he’s tall enough and quiet enough.

My barn owner offered us a lease on Jim with plenty of rides during the week. We couldn’t turn it down. There was just something about him. Although my heart is still mending over Jack, I started to get excited about Jim. Thomas and I started thinking about our show season and all of the fun things we can do. I started making plans to go trail riding with one of my good friends around the property because finally, at last, I had a horse I could do it with. My world started turning.

Jim can never be a replacement for Jack. I don’t expect any horse to completely fill his void. Jack left an awful big mark on my heart. But Jim is here to nuzzle my shoulder and remind me of why I love horses. He is the biggest teddy bear I’ve ever known.

While I’m on Jim, I’ve started to relax again. I’ve started to gain back the confidence that Jack had thrown in the dirt. I started to feel more like me.

It’s been a bittersweet couple of months in my life. It’s been hard to say goodbye, but it’s a welcomed feeling to say hello. Jim seems to know I need him. After Jack left the barn, Jim let me pamper him for over an hour, braiding his long, fluffy, unruly mane. He took it like a champ and fell asleep, lower lip drooping. Each day it gets a little bit easier. Every step I take with Jim reminds me I can do it.