The Less I Weep, The More I Wonder

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.

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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?

Riding Regrets

I am one of those deeply reflective types that still remembers that one awkward time I called a teacher Mom in grade school. Safe to say, I remember lots, and not always for the better.

Riding is an escape for me, and while there is tons I wish I could do better, there are not a plethora of memories that I truly regret.

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I don’t regret touring this spot though. :O

There are times when I wish I had been more knowledgeable at the time, particularly when I was riding with trainers that did not always have the horses best interests at heart. I never witnessed anything truly heinous, but I did see treatment that now leaves me disquieted.

Horse related troubles aside (so difficult to do, may be another post for that), riding offers its own regrets that I have to live with.

I was lucky as a kid that my parents entertained my riding up until I was a certain age. I wish I really basked in the glory of those times, because I don’t think I realized how difficult it would be to afford a daily riding frequency as an adult.

I try to be as thankful as I can be for what I can get these days, because that’s what I should have done back then, rather than wish for more chances to show or more glamorous opportunities.

I also regret not absorbing, writing, and thinking more when I had chances to do clinics with really knowledgeable horsepeople. To an extent, I am still in disbelief that I had the time in front of who I did. I really had no business doing that with my scrappy trakehner.

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Not the Trakehner, but instead my favorite donkey.

I’ve evolved from this thinking. For the better, thankfully.

Watching the big horse shows always challenges my envy, which I have nearly conquered now. I don’t watch with bitterness anymore. Now, I can appreciate great riders at the top of their game without wondering, what if…..

Unless you are an Olympic level rider, there will always be something just out of reach. And even the Olympic level rider have their own troubles to navigate. If we are so concerned with climbing to the next summit, we can never appreciate the view.

So the goal now? No regrets.

 

Dress to Impress

I’ve never been too fussed about the gear my horse goes in. As long as horse is happy and the equipment is functionally safe, brand or the look of what we were wearing never even entered my radar of importance. Mostly because, as a kid, functional and not ugly were the two required checkboxes – horses were expensive enough as is, and I was not super *cool* to know what was trending on the circuit.

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Absolutely shocking to think I wasn’t cool growing up.

My perspective has shifted somewhat. Now, I care less about the ribbons (nice, but not need to have) and more about pictures I get to remember the memories. And because I love photos, I also care about how we (really, how the mare) look(s) in photos, and thus the quality of the gear that the horse wears does, in a small way, complete the picture.

Not in the sense that I would throw a “most leather wins” contest. I’ve seen those, and drowning a horse in gadgets does not look nice or make much sense oftentimes. But having a bridle that is not plastic-material and a square pad that has seen a washing machine in the last 6 months is more of a requirement for me now.

Imagine my pleasure of seeing mare in brand new and BEAUTIFUL gear. She looks really nice, and I was mega-impressed with the quality of the leather given the affordable pricepoint. Dang, she looks good in grey.

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“Why are you walking away from me with that light-up box?”

In a short two weeks, she will be wearing it again at our first horse show (holy mackerel, stress). Luckily it’s a venue she has shown at extensively. I do not get too nervous anymore (stay tuned for the next post) but it would be nice if I was not a completely absent driver.

My preparation thus far has been to admire the horse in her new gear and eat Girl Scout cookies. As far as I know, the road to success is paved with delicious packaged treats.