Some years later, Mickey developed a slight lameness at the extended trot. This is career ending for an endurance horse. I took him to Alamo Pintado, one of the best equine hospitals in the country, for a diagnosis. The fat pad between the joints in his fetlock was wearing away. This injury is caused by repetitive motion, like sustained trotting. I had to face the fact that while he couldn't continue as an endurance horse, he was plenty sound enough as a trail horse. At the time, I couldn't see beyond the endurance world and had no interest in trail riding or in any other discipline. I couldn't afford to keep a horse that wasn't competing, but I felt an obligation to be sure that he had a good home. As difficult as it was, I decided to sell him.
I listed him for sale on various sites and sent the word out. I was very honest about his shortcomings as I wanted his new owner to be happy with him. I wasn't in any hurry to sell him and decided that I would trail ride and enjoy his company as long as it took to find the right owner. It took many months, but I finally found his next owner. Or more truthfully, Mickey found her. Much like he did with me, Mickey spotted the woman and chose her on the spot. He also liked her husband. While the woman was grooming Mickey, her husband whispered to me that his wife had cried just looking at his sale photos. That's how much she had connected with him.
As they drove away the day before Thanksgiving, I asked her to keep in touch. She didn't, but I trust that Mickey Dee made a good choice in his owner. I think about him often and wonder ...