Thank you to everyone’s thoughts and kind words, I can’t express how much they help. Even though I cry when I read them, it truly helps knowing I’m part of a larger tribe that completely understands. I’ve lost my friend, and I’m at the stage where I’m not sure I want to “get over” loosing him. I want Flash, not the next horse, and I can recognize that stage for what it is. I finally admitted to myself, really for the first time, that I was a good horse owner. Whenever someone complimented me on my care or how well Flash looked, my knee jerk answer was “Well, I have to get better at this” or “I’m really working on this aspect”, but after last nights painful but weirdly helpful visit to the barn, I can finally just say it out loud. I was a good horse owner, and Flash reflected that both in his manner and his stunning beauty and growing fitness. The two things I’m proudest of are finally figuring out a good way to control his itchiness (SmartPak ItchEase, worth every penny for him!) and how he loaded right up without hesitation that dark, scary, ash filled night we had to evacuate him during the wildfires.
Of course I want another horse, and to keep horses in my life, and I know in a vague sort of way I’ll eventually tell the universe and my friends I’m ready for a new partner and it will happen…but Flash was so good, so fun and aside from his insistence on being top horse and therefore living solo, so easy, I can’t imagine starting over from scratch yet. I’m at that weird part where it’s finally really settled in he’s gone, and now I’m at the starting line of looking for another horse, a search I’ve never done before and while there’s some excitement there, it’s still mostly buried under aching loss.
Today as I sit and consider all the ways my life has suddenly changed and all the questions I have to answer to move forward, I’m going through the (thankfully) thousands of photos and videos I captured over the past year with Flash, and laughing and crying by turns. He was such a Good Horse, and I’m so happy so many loved him.
As much as we managed to seize the day and do things, I’ll treasure the quiet nights at the barn the most, being able to care for him everyday and really know him. One of the best parts of having my own horse was not being locked into a plan for every interaction; we just did whatever felt good an any given day. Soccer? Lunging? Wandering around bareback? Just a long grooming session? All were equally wonderful. One of Flash’s favorite things was that blue treat ball, which I called his “bad roommate ball” cause he would chase it around for hours…and it was loud! Switching him to a mohawk was also a solid choice, as he grew a pretty wimpy mane and the mohawk showed off his neck so well.
I’ll be forever grateful that while I had some anxiety and I didn’t always double check expenditures with Tom before hand, I mostly had a “Yes, sure!” mentality when it came to outings. We managed to fit so much into our year because of this just do it philosophy. A ground clinic with Clay Wright I credit for helping with 80% of our “doesn’t always check in with me” issues, and our one attempt at an official Mountain Trail Course was flat out terrible…yet we still did it! When I was pregnant and couldn’t ride, we still enjoyed many a hike, which I like to believe Flash viewed as a walking salad bar. Aside from trail riding, drill team was the most enjoyable thing we tried together, I was smiling and laughing for the entire two hours.
What truly made my heart the fullest was watching Kade and Flash work together…although certain rides brought our Flash’s one real vice, namely that he loved to throw his face around to show his opinion about contact, bitted or bitless, which is hard to deal with when you only weigh 60 pounds. I was so grateful we had Flash when the pandemic hit and soccer and swimming, Kade’s main physical outlets, were cancelled. We still had daily barn visits and a horse that, sufficiently bribed, didn’t fuss about being a large jungle gym.
I miss ya bud, a part of me always will…and I console myself with the thought that you have all the mares and carrots and none of the flies in that big old field in the sky.