Never do I generally provide a warning for my thoughts, but the rain has been nothing but stormy and recent life transitions has me looking back. Consider this a warning.
I had a horse in high school that was too good to me. I mean that in the most honest, not-at-all humble way ever.
This horse did not stop. Ever. Even if the jump was on fire. Even if I was hauling on his mouth. This horse lept over everything, and all we had to pay in return was a touch of sass. A little buck after a big jump. Nippy in the cross-ties, that sort of thing.
While I am not a subscriber to the theory of heart horse, this horse would hold that honor if I ever bestowed it on one of my past rides. He was a spicy, brave, difficult, forgiving liver chestnut trakehner. And I loved every bit of him, especially the ragged bits.
My memories of him are so cherished, that when I think of my best times on horseback, they are behind his ears.
When push came to shove, we simply could not afford him anymore. With no resentment, I do not envy my parents’ position, telling a sobbing child that they have to take away her best friend.
I could write for decades on Riley (and likely will continue to), but my loss of him is most interesting to me at this current juncture. Already in life, I have allowed many things to cycle in and out, but the loss of Riley rocked my foundation. My sense of security was at the barn with him, 5 times a week. He appears as a horcrux, something that split my soul, part of it may always reside elsewhere.
Once I was able to rebuild normalcy, which took probably a full year before I could even unhide all my photos of him and not cry upon sight of him, I had a new battle-tested composition.
Other breaks in my heart, both horses and people, hurt and continued to build my tolerance for departures. Confidently at my age, still young by definition, I am borderline blase about those who enter and leave my life.
It is not horses specifically that did this, I have them to thank for everything about my sensitive and sympathetic tendencies. But I can look at the systemic requirements of ownership and sigh a bit.
The years of leasing, years of letting go, and years of never being able to financially hold on to the horses I loved. They have changed me.
It has made me strong, but also formulaic.
How has losing horses contributed to your overall sense of self?