Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Year of the Horse

Though I've never attempted to pay attention to the Chinese zodiac, aside from the amusing paper placemats at buffets.  But this year, being the "Year of the Horse" I can't help but notice, and it seems to be a cruel irony.  The "year of the horse" is, for me, going to be a year WITHOUT the horse. I imagine this could have been a joyous driving theme for us as this was supposed to be our best year yet.  We had hit our stride at the end of last season, he was performing better than ever, and I finally felt like we could get ourselves into the best shape of our lives for the 2014 show season.  And then he got sick, but I just kept looking forward to that January 7th date when we could get back to work.  I was going to be so ready and thankful for my horse that we would work our collective tails off and by May we'd be ready to show.

But instead, last year must be considered our best year, since there will not be another year for us.
Although, perhaps, if I sit quietly and wonder WHY this must be the Year of the Horse.  I believe everything happens for a reason, so why is the world telling me to celebrate the horse instead of mourn the horse?

Because life must go on.  Because no matter how hard I wish, there is no time machine or magic wand that can bring him back.  So I must keep trying to go forward, even though it's hard.  As Dumbledore so wisely said to Harry when he was found gazing again into the Mirror of Erised; "It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live."

As I mentioned, I am taking lessons again.  I had my first lesson on January 20th.  I felt like a fish out of water.  It's like I didn't know how to do anything.  It felt foreign to do up the halter clip, use two hands to lead a horse, put the reins over the head before removing the halter.  With Junior I could, and most often did, work with him with multiple safety violations.  I don't know why I felt the need to know I could trust my horse to obey without the safety restraints.  But now I need to follow all the proper safety protocols because this isn't my horse, or my bridle, or my grooming tools.  I had to get help figuring out a pad combination so my saddle could fit this 13.2hh pony instead of my 16hh horse.

After a long conversation with the BO about my new horseless riding goals, my anxiety about other horse, my severe out-of-shapeness, etc., so the Sillypony was assigned to Lillypony.  She's new to the barn and reminded me quite a bit of Debon in size, color, gait, and temperament.

I went to mount and she stepped off before my other foot was settled so I got a little spooked (OMG is this walk off leading to a BOLT!?!?... shut up, Overanxious one) but after about 30 feet of walking and I was over the fear of the bolt for now, but then I started to cry.  This is not my horse.  My horse is gone.  After a bit I was able to compose myself and we did a nice walk/trot lesson including a few poles and an Equitation pattern. Both Lillypony and I are rather out of shape so we were allowed multiple walk-breaks.  I shared the lesson with Junior's former Brofriend, Mystic and his owner. I'm sure Mystic shared my longing for a different mount, as Mystic detests all ponies, and we both miss the Bug. I cried again for a bit when I thought too much about how much Mystic must miss him and how his teeth-grinding was greatly lessened when the two bros were in turnout together.

But even with the emotional bubblings, overall the lesson was a good start. BO made the welcome suggestion that I stay with Lillypony for a few lessons until I feel more comfortable, so I expect I'll get to ride her tomorrow in our weather make-up lesson and on Monday in my regular weekly lesson.  I am very much looking forward to my upcoming lessons, but I certainly miss the privilege of being able to ride my horse any time I want to.  I remember when I first got Junior and first experienced that privilege; I was clueless about what to do on my rides!  Oh how much we learned in 5 years.

So, here's to the Year of the Horse.... and Thank You to Lillypony for taking the first steps with me.
At least the view has familiar colors.