This entire post is a thinly veiled excuse to brag about my newest acquisition and reminisce about the old days. You’ve been warned.
A lot of beloved people and critters have gone out of my life in the past year or so. This isn’t the first time this has happened, and it’s exhausting, stressful, and frankly kind of tiresome, to be knocked down over and over by the news that a grandparent, a friend, a childhood pet, is no longer within my reach (I say ‘tiresome’ because I’m a crusty New Englander, and ‘depressing to the point of tears’ is a little too on the nose for me).
The point is that, lately, my life has been deficient in connections to living creatures. So I bought a horse.
*Cheshire cat smile*
I don’t know much about her origins. About nine years ago, someone crossed a Paint horse with an Arabian- I think- and the little lady in the top photo was the result. She’s sharp as a tack and has a lot of get up and go. And she thinks. Most horses don’t, but whenever Bailey is startled by something, she looks bug-eyed at it for a moment, then decides that it’s not going to hurt her, instead of the usual equine tactic of ‘Run! Run for your life!”
In a previous life, she was a lesson horse, but she’s a little too sensitive for beginner riders, so she’s now mine. For now, I’m just riding her on the trails around the barn, but once I get a few things in order, I’m going to teach her about polo, just because I can. It should be fun; I miss chasing that little white ball around the arena, and I think Bailey will enjoy it, too. After she takes her usual five minutes to decide it’s not going to eat her, of course.
So there will be some new gear, and new skills, and probably some bumps and bruises along the way. But for now, I’m in this weird state of rediscovering all sorts of things that have lain dormant for a few years. I’m back in a region where green and growing things predominate; I have a horse of my own that I can ride whenever I want; I’m in my own house, not an interloper in someone else’s. I can breathe. My brain is working again, after two years of fuzziness from not enough oxygen.
The other shoe will drop. It always does. But for now, I’m on the upswing.
And, one more cool thing: see that saddle? It belonged to my mother, who’s been dead for just over a decade. Mom taught me to ride, and she practically lived in that saddle. The first time I used it, I was probably sixteen, even though I’d been tall enough for it for a few years by then, because Mom was always using it. It’s a King Series saddle, and it fits every horse I’ve ever put it on. It was old when she acquired it in the seventies, and it’s still usable, even though I didn’t use it at all when I lived in Colorado. I was very grateful for it last weekend, when a giant horsefly landed on Bailey’s butt as we were going down the trail, and she bucked and kicked sky-high to get rid of it. I stayed put. Because that saddle is made in such a way that it catches you when you fall.
I’ve been falling for a long time. But I found something to catch me, and now I can ride on, safe and sound.