The Horse Trade

I never thought this day would come. Nor had I expected the heartache to be as intense. The feed bin was empty. The water bucket was gone. Everything had been cleaned and swept away. The only trace that there had ever been a horse inside this stall was the name plaque still on the stall door.

I was fifteen when a girl, a few years older than I, opened up the door to her grandfather’s barn and two of the fattest horses I’d ever seen bulged against the doorway to greet me.  Before I knew it, I was on a trail ride with baler twine holding the saddle on a horse that looked like a Quarter horse but had the mentality of her Tennessee Walker companion.

It never occurred to me how that girl may have felt selling her horses, until this day when I stood in the empty stall of that same Quarter horse I’d loved for six years.

It was for the best, or at least that’s what I tried to convince myself in order to ease the pain of losing my best friend. Soon, I would move away with my new husband, a man allergic to horses.

I hadn’t been home when my dad sold my horse. He thought it was best for me not to be there when my horse left. I never got to say that final goodbye. I never got to meet the person Dad entrusted my horse with.

I’ll never be sure which I regret more – having to let go of my horse or not being given the opportunity to say goodbye.

Over the years, I’ve kept my saddle. It reminds me of all those races and trail rides and memories I have of my horse. It also reminds me of a promise my husband made to me just before we married. A promise I’ve held onto in my heart that he would keep – one day I’d have a horse again.

As I look back fifteen years later, I know it couldn’t have happened any other way. I may have had to let go of my horse in order to marry a man allergic to animals, but God has blessed us in so many ways over the years.

While my husband may not have fulfilled his promise of a horse yet, I wouldn’t trade our life or three kiddos for anything in the world.

So when people ask me about that saddle sitting in the corner, I tell them, “I traded my horse for my husband.” Because sometimes in life we have to choose to give up one thing in order to gain something greater.  (Please click to Tweet this.)


Feature image credit: Ari Bronstein

Susan Lower

Susan Lower is a thrifty, creative, adventurous gal who loves black raspberry ice cream and chocolate. She's married to an awesome guy who calls her beautiful and has three great kids who call her Mom. She serves on the board for the St. Davids Christian Writers' Association as their conference director and when she's not writing, you'll find her with a good book, taking a family adventure, or in her craft room at

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