Well, I had my work cut out for me that's for sure. As I looked at the flyer on her stall I knew that even though it didn't look like I should have her, I knew in my heart and every ounce of being that I was going to be a part of her life in some way, shape or form.

In case you forgot what this beauty looks like...
Tessa and "Berta"
But before I go on, let me give you a quick recap:
  • Went on a field trip with my first grader (reluctantly, don't judge. It was hot, I had a ton of work waiting for me)
  • Started to enjoy the field trip (Tessa was having a blast and well, it was a beautiful day)
  • Saw a lot of horses and animals on our tour (Didn't once feel like I wanted any of them)
  • Went on a bumpy hay ride and took a tour (gave snacks to Tessa when the teacher wasn't looking)
  • Fell in love with a horse (I knew it the minute I saw her, and no other way to say it, she picked me)
  • Sent a text to my husband ("Can I keep her?" His response "Wait are you serious?")
  • Found out that she is in the training program (Never been under saddle or has never been ridden!)
  • Heart sank when I found out they want an experienced horseman to adopt her (that's not me)
  • Couldn't explain it  but I knew we were going to adopt her
OK, so you are basically up to speed. For some unknown reason, this horse decided that she wanted to pick me to adopt her. Me, no experience, trail rides occasionally when I was a kid, had a friend who had a horse, thought they were beautiful, but yep, that's the extent of my knowledge. 

Yet, I could not think of anything else. I went to bed thinking about Berta (yes I know, don't worry that name isn't stuck with her), and woke up thinking about her. She was the background on my phone already.

Now, I just had to convince my husband.I went home and waited for my husband to get home from work, I was so excited to tell him all about her.

We sat down and I went through the whole day with him. Once I was finished he asked me if I was really serious about this, (like he couldn't tell) and I said yes. "Steven, I can't explain it, she picked me. I feel it from within, and I don't know if it is to just help her in the training program, or while she is at Long Meadow, but I really feel like she is supposed to be ours. I am supposed to be in her life. And no matter what that means, I want to go through with this." He told me he had never seen me like this and then said "OK then, let's do it." After I shrieked I made him tell me he wasn't going to pull the rug out from under me and that he really meant it. He did.

We made an appointment to meet with the trainer that Saturday. I was so nervous, excited, scared, anxious, all rolled into one.  I knew that he could be the deciding factor on if I could have her or not. Not that I had anywhere to put her or knew the first thing about taking care of her...all I knew is I wanted her as much as I thought she wanted me.

We pulled into Long Meadow Rescue Ranch and I ran, no literally ran, to go sign us in. and then immediately grabbed Steven by the hand and took him to see her. Tessa of course was ahead of us already.

Tessa yelling over her shoulder "Come On! She's over here!"

Tessa was so excited to see her again
I should tell you, my husband is from New York, born in Brooklyn, raised out on Long Island. So to say that he was familiar with horses would be a stretch. In fact, the last time he encountered a horse was with me. We were dating and I wanted to go feed these horses in a pasture behind some church. I convinced him to go with me. Long story short, I dropped a carrot, bent down to pick it up, and when I came back up the horses head swung around and literally knocked me on my backside. It was so hard that I heard ringing in my ears, I felt a wave of hot come over me, and my head felt like it was hanging on ready to fall off. It of course was my fault. For starters, we were feeding horses we didn't know, (pretty sure there was a no trespassing sign to) and I wasn't paying attention when I came back up.

So that is the last memory my husband had of a horse. He was worried about me and Tessa getting hurt. I on the other hand, couldn't explain it, but I felt so comfortable about all of this.

I brought Steven over to meet her, and say what you want, but she recognized me. We had grabbed some candy canes from the front office when we arrived to feed her, so I let Tessa and Steven go first.
Tessa saying hello to Berta
The trainer was working with someone so we had to wait for him to get done. I certainly didn't mind, that meant I had more time with her. I knew he would only give us about 30 minutes to an hour, depending on how it went. And I was so nervous. I knew the chances of me adopting her were riding on his approval.

I gave her a kiss and whispered "We got this Berta."
Someone came over and told us Scott (the trainer) would be with us in a minute. My stomach was doing flip flops. I looked at my husband and said "What if he says no?" he replied, "He won't, just relax."

I liked Scott right away, you could tell that he truly cared for the horses and wanted to be sure they were going to a home that would be a forever home. He spent a lot of time with us, two hours to be exact. He asked me all kinds of questions...how much experience I had, what do I know about horses, what is our intent, etc. I was honest and told him that we are green, we really have no experience but then quickly followed it up with how I met Berta. He told me he had heard about it from one of the volunteers. I told him that it didn't matter to me if it took four years to be able to ride her, it is more about the relationship to me. I just want to love on her and give her a good home. I want to learn with her.

Once he was satisfied of our intent he opened her stall and gave me her halter and lead rope and told me to put it on her.

Yikes! OK I might need help.

He looked at me, my facial expression was giving it away I'm sure, and asked if I wanted him to show me how to put it on. I said. please.

He showed me how to flex her neck and where to start when approaching her (her withers) and basically bombarded me with information and was watching me closely. I soaked it all in and did the best I could. Berta was a champ and helped me through. Then as we are talking, I am standing next to Berta on her left and we are facing Scott, all of a sudden Berta puts her head down and wraps around and puts it between my legs. I immediately started petting her and loving on her.

Scott would say, "Are you listening?" My reply, "Of course! It's just that she is so darn lovable!" Scott's reply, "I can see that. But you need to pay attention." "Sorry, I am promise." Then he would start talking again. Berta would wait awhile and then do the same thing. It was so hard to concentrate when all I wanted to do was love on her.

Finally Scott, put his hands at his side, sighed and laughed. "OK, I can't deny it, that horse picked you, there is no doubt in my mind that you two are supposed to be together." My smile was from ear to ear. I felt a glimmer of hope, like this was really going to happen. "You realize that is the most vulnerable position for a horse, her neck down like that, not to mention she is putting it between your legs, she obviously trusts you." And I trusted her.

He looked at my husband and asked him how he felt about all of this. Steven replied "They really do have a connection. I think this is great, I am 100% supportive of her."

Scott told us about another adoption that happened not too long ago. "I've seen it once before, and it was a young girl, they came in just to look, had no experience, just like you, and left with a horse that I would have never put with them, he was very young and had no training. That horse picked that little girl and now they are teaching other kids how to work with horses. It was amazing." Just then Roxy nudged me from behind and caught me off guard. It was as if she was saying "See, we can do this." I reached my arms around and gave her neck a big hug.

Scott smiled "OK, are you ready to take her out?" I replied, with a big grin, "Yes."

He let me lead her out of the stall. I loved the sound her hooves made on the concrete path...clip, clop, clip, clop, and I remember thinking, "This is my horse, don't any of you get any ideas." It felt great to have her lead rope in my hands as I walked her out into the sunshine.

Her ears perked up and she was taking it all in. For a brief second I thought, oh crap, I hope she doesn't decide to bolt on me. And as if she knew what I was thinking, her walking slowed.

Scott led us over to a green grassy area next to the pasture and pavilion and then asked me for her lead rope. He started doing some ground work with her. My husband and I were in awe.  Steven said, "Wow, she really is a beautiful horse." I of course beamed and agreed.

Scott working with Berta...

 I think this is the picture that made my husband fall in love with her...

Beautiful Berta
Then Scott handed me the lead rope back and stepped back to talk with Steven. I stood there petting her with Tessa by my side.

Then Scott said he had just one more question for me...I remember thinking, here it comes, the deal breaker.
And out came the most wonderful words "Do you want to adopt her?" I felt myself just light up, tears filled my eyes, I looked over at Steven, with pleading eyes and asked him "Can we?" and he said it's not up to him, it was up to me. I of course said "YES!"

"Congratulations." said Scott. "Now let's go in and do some paperwork." Steven looked at me and said "Are you happy?" I smiled and said "Thank you." and then asked "Are you sure?" he smiled and said "Yes."

We took Berta back into her stall and sat down with Scott in his office. He went over everything with us and let us know that the deposit would hold her, but we had ten days to turn in information to them about where we were keeping her, who her vet would be, her farrier.... (What is a farrier?!)

All kidding aside, I had already started doing my homework. Farriers, boarding facilities...and Steven had already started praying. I would hear him in the bathroom sometimes at night or in the morning. "Jesus!" he would shout. or "Lord help us." Poor guy was in a panic once I told him how much it cost to board a horse. Then one night he asked me how long a horse lived...I think that was when the reality set in. He did say to me one night, "If this is what you want, then we will make it happen. God will provide. I have never seen you like this Terri. If it is meant to be it will happen. Don't worry."

But until I had her in a trailer (which I still had no idea where I was going to get one of those from) and on my way to where we were boarding her (um, where I had no idea) then I wouldn't stop worrying. I know I said that even if I am supposed to be in her life to help support her while she is at Long Meadow, I didn't feel in my heart that was the case. I knew she was supposed to be ours.

After we finished the paperwork we went back to her stall to put up the "adopted" sign!

She was really going to be mine! Er "ours" Tessa and I found her,
she picked us and now we were going to adopt her!

We spent some time taking pictures, of course.

Me and Tessa proudly displaying the "adopted" sign
Steven and Tessa fed her more treats

And she watched my every move
I couldn't wait to bring her home.

So, started my search for the perfect place for her, well, a place we could afford. I was on the phone to every boarding facility within a 50 mile radius. Quickly realizing that it was not cheap! And I met a lot of negativity along the way. "So you have no experience and you are adopting a rescue horse?" "Wait she has never been under saddle?" "Are you sure you want to start with such a young horse?" YES, YES and YES!

Although I did get a few people that after I told them my story they said "That is usually how it happens, they pick you."

I wasn't giving up. Steven was praying harder and I was calling everyone I could think of trying to network and figure it all out. Steven kept saying, "I know you will figure it out, don't worry."

Literally when I say I went to bed thinking about her and woke up thinking about her...I did. I honestly cannot remember every wanting something this bad. Sure I've wanted a puppy before, but I never felt this pulling from within. I could not talk about how she picked me without crying.

Then finally, it hit me! My old boss! I worked with Dave when I was an aid for the Special School District. Dave was a mobility instructor for the visually impaired.  I remember him saying that he used to let the kids come to his ranch and pet the horses and (this might sound weird) they would help build fences. Yep giving a blind kid power tools and letting them build a fence was pretty empowering and Dave was amazing with his students, always pushing them to be all they could. Of course Dave was there to supervise!

Anyway, Dave is one of those unique individuals that you could not see for years, then call up and he would be there for you in a heart beat. So I dialed his number, got his voice mail and said "Dave, this is Terri. I have always wanted to say this...Dave I need to see a man about a horse!" I laughed and left a brief message about what was going on and I was hoping he could help me network or he might know of someone that would be able to help me.

Later that night as we were driving home from dinner. Steven was behind the wheel, his Dad (another city boy from Brooklyn) next to him in the passenger seat and me and the kids in the back, I got the call. It was Dave. His words... "Kraham, what the hell are you doing getting a horse?" My reply, "Wicks, I have no idea." I told him she picked me. Tessa and I can't explain it, but that day on the field trip forever changed us. And I began to tell him the story. At this point, I still couldn't finish the story without getting all teary eyed.

Once I brought him up to speed he shared me about how he had always wanted a horse when he was a boy. So when he got older, he got one. Then he said "You know it's not cheap to board a horse." I agreed (boy did I agree!) then music to my ears "OK Kraham I'll do it." "You will! You will help me look for a place?" and he replied "No, I'll keep her here. Can you afford a $100 a month? That will help with the cost of hay."

"ARE YOU SERIOUS?!?!? Steven he said he will keep her there! OMGosh, thank you! Thank you!" "I'm glad to do it, you can come out one day this week and meet my two horses, her stall mates. You'll need to take pictures, Long Meadow will want pictures of where she is going to stay and I will give you the Farrier and Vet's contact information as well."

OMGosh, this is really happening!

I hung up the phone and looked up at Steven, he is looking at me in the rear view mirror. "So, do we have a place?" "Yes! $100 a month!" With that he let out a very loud "PRAISE GOD!"

We went out a few days later to visit and see where Berta would be staying.

Tessa meeting Tanner for the first time
He is an adorable, friendly, big teddy bear and a Tennessee Walker
Tessa and Tanner became great friends

The alpha in the group...Rocket
He is an American Saddle Bred Paint and also a big softy for Tessa
The next day I sent all of the information over to Long Meadow. The name of the farrier, who turns out is also Berta's farrier at Long Meadow! The name of the vet, who turns out to also be the trainers vet! I sent pictures of the hay barn, where the feed is kept, her stall, the other horses...

I even sent a picture of the Peacocks Dave has at his place
I made sure I covered all of my bases. I wanted to leave no room for error! Over the next few weeks I spent every possible moment getting things ready. Researching, visiting Berta on the designated days I was allowed, and I even enrolled her into another training program to help with ground work. Which was a hard decision, because that meant I had to wait longer to get her, but Scott felt it was smart and so did Steven. With her being so young, we wanted her to get as much training as possible before she left Long Meadow.

The last two weeks I was allowed to go out three times a week and train with Scott and Berta. Those nights were awesome. I loved every second I was with her. I learned a lot and we bonded even more.

Berta and I working with Scott
It was so hard to leave her each time I visited.

Berta watching us leave
I would always tell her "Don't worry, we will be back for you."

Everyone in the family fell in love with her.

Samantha visiting Berta for the first time
Then, the day came for us to bring her home. June 8, 2013. It was a beautiful sunny day, just perfect for bringing her home.

My smile was from ear to ear!

We are coming to bring you home Berta!
I arrived by myself a few hours before Dave and Steven where coming to meet me. I had my last training session with Scott and Berta before she would officially be mine.

Scott working with me on some ground work

Working on desensitizing

I was even able to ride her - she was officially under saddle
Well, Scott rode her while he was training her, but it was my first time

It felt wonderful to share this moment with her
Once I finished with my training session I went with Scott to fill out the paperwork and make it "official"! She was mine, actually mine! OMGosh, she is mine! The only thing left to do...load her into the awaiting trailer. Turns out Dave had one of those to and he even offered to drive it for us. The plan was for him and Steven to drive the trailer and Tessa and I would follow behind.

This was going to be fun though, since they hadn't attempted that with her yet, meaning, she had never been loaded into a trailer before. She didn't get that far in the training program.

Well, it took a few times 

And a few more...

And a few more...

But we eventually got her on. 

I was even able to get her myself. Of course Scott
made me try it on my own once he got her on.

Time to go home Berta (so changing that name!)
On our way to Dave's place...
"The Motherlode Ranch"
Berta's new home
Berta (now known as Foxy Roxy - Roxy for short) in her new stall.
Roxy with her braided mane

Running for the first time with her new friend Tanner

The first time they were all three together

Tessa and the herd Roxy, Tanner and Rocket
She was finally "home" with us. And so it begins...our journey together.

We go out to see her everyday and I am forever grateful to Dave for welcoming us into his ranch and taking us in. We really could not have done it if it weren't for him. He gives us great advice, never judges and makes us feel so very welcome. We've gotten to know his wife Jenny and Tessa has even become great friends with his grand daughter Haley. Sometimes it is surreal as to how it all worked out.

We love all three of the horses, Roxy, Rocket and Tanner, they each make us smile.  My city boy husband even owns a pair of cowboy boots now. And of course Tessa and I as well.  We love being around the horses, love the smell of the barn, I even enjoy (wait for it) cleaning out the stalls! I know! There is just something so rewarding about being out there and spending time with them. We love it so much that we have decided to start looking for our own ranch. I long to come home and hear Roxy whinny in my own backyard. We hope that one day Dave will let us take Rocket and Tanner as well. They all look so darn good together and they get along wonderfully, it would be heartbreaking to separate them and honestly I would miss those two too much!

Bottom line, it has been life changing for us all. Well mostly Steven, Tessa and I. Our older two, Samantha (18) and Sean (21), I think are afraid if they get too close they might have to clean out the stalls. Besides, once Samantha goes away to school in the fall, Sean will be getting his own place soon, it really will be just Steven, Tessa and I most of the time, so it is a perfect bonding experience and something we can all do together. Tessa even like cleaning the stalls, giving them a bath, feeding them...

Love you Roxy
We just can't seem to get enough of being with them all. It truly has brought us closer together and we look forward to going out to see them every day.

Having fun at the barn

She loves her grass

And apples

And...candy canes

Rocket sticking out his tongue
Frozen barn problems
That's Dave trying to unfreeze the hose
so we could run water from the house to the barn when the well froze
Rocket and Tanner

Relaxing together - This was a rare moment that I was able to get a picture
of them laying down, they always get up so darn quick!

Tom our awesome Farrier

Watching the bonfire

She was sent to me from above

Striking a pose

Steven even made her a window 

Tessa wrote Roxy's name on it
Dave showing Roxy her window from inside.
Now of course Steven has taught her to push it open on her own
Yes we finger painted Roxy

She looked beautiful!

She's mine!

Tessa is always playing with them all

Tessa being goofy

Samantha showing her some love

Nothing like summer at the barn

Those eyes

Can I have another treat

Dave spraying Tanner with the hose this past summer, Tanner loves it!

We love braiding her mane

Tessa on her bareback

Tessa takes such good care of her

Dave says she is a natural around the horses and we agree

Tessa on Tanner

Me and Tanner

Me and Roxy

I love this horse!
There really are no words...thank you for picking me...us,  Roxy.
Wow, I really did add a lot of pictures! Well we really love her! The entire experience has been wonderful and our family is closer because of her. Things happen in your life for a reason, I call it divine intervention. Roxy didn't just pick me, I feel as though she was sent to me from above. I lost my Dad in December and aside from my husband, whom is always there for me, I know that when I go and see Roxy, she somehow seems to help make it all better. We now could not imagine our life without horses and one particular cremello mare named Foxy Roxy.