She was located near the Canadian border (apparently location hadn't been part of my search criteria) but I emailed the owner about her anyway. Weeks passed without a reply, and I all but forgot about it. Then one day in late summer, the owner sent an email saying that a prior sale had fallen through, and she wanted to know if I was still interested. I was. So I paid a long overdue visit to my aunt and uncle's home in Bemidji, and the three of us made a foray to Williams, MN.
Grey Girl was even more beautiful in person than she had been in the pictures. It really was love at first sight. She had a sweet and gentle aura, and there nothing to not like about her, except for her tendency to be girthy. I figured that was something that could be fixed, so it didn't concern me. I rode her around the property and felt her natural athleticism right away. I took pictures of her teeth, her feet, and all sides, to show Lisa later for her opinion. But I think in my mind, I'd already written the check.
In September John and I headed up north with my friend's trailer. Within six hours we were in Williams. Thirty minutes later, the newly-dubbed Gracie - short for Graceland - was in the trailer and ready to go. Six and half hours after that, we unloaded her at her new home. Somehow along the way she had banged up her forehead in the trailer, but it was an otherwise uneventful trip. I was a lot calmer than I probably should have been about the whole thing. My biggest worry at that moment was telling my parents that I now had TWO horses.
I gave myself a timeline of three months to figure out what to do about Francesca. If she continued to improve and became rideable, I would lease her out. If she deteriorated, I would have to consider the unthinkable. I should have known that nothing is ever that cut and dry with horses.