Before anyone gets the wrong idea, Empress is fine. She is happy and healthy, but she is leaving us.
When Shadow Ranch was founded, we knew we were taking a huge chance. We were moving to a rural town where we knew very few people and starting a new organization in an industry that very few people knew about much less believed in. We really didn't know if we would make it or not. Because of that, we decided that our founding herd would be contracted from their owners. That way if we didn't make it as an organization, the horses would have a place to return to. That was 4 years ago and her owner has decided not to renew her contract and take her home.
Empress was one of our founding herd. She was irreplaceable when we first started up. I don't know what we would have done without her. With the help of this beautiful creature, kids and adults have made miraculous progress. She has even been given credit for saving the life of one. She has been herd boss and a great one at that...not too pushy, but as protective over them as I am. If it wasn't for her, I would never have known that our friend the cougar swings through and hangs out for awhile every Spring.
Even though I know in my head that she will be cared for, it is with a heavy heart (and a few tears) that my staff, volunteers, students and I say farewell.
Tiffany, thank you for allowing us the pleasure of working with this wonderful mare.
Empress, you shall be missed.