As much as I miss Flash for himself and how excellent he was, I also miss the certainty he provided, the every day rhythm. Kid, dog and husband all knew where I would be around 7pm every night and most Saturdays, and usually some combination of the three would join me to take care of him. I was able to ride with my loosey goosey, utterly out of shape post pregnancy body because I trusted him and the limits of his occasionally mild opinions.
It’s only been a week and I’m already going through major withdrawals, the lack of pony hair and treat demands is starting to show in my stress levels. I won’t be entirely without horses through the winter as my trainer as already offered her horses up for love and possible rides, but it won’t be part of the consistent, everyday routine.
The journey between now, lonely and grieving and horseless, and riding the trails with another equine partner feels huge and daunting. Money is a large part of it, of course, even though we have a fairly straightforward plan (save the money I was spending on board and hunker down til bonus season in March). There’s also the effects on my husband to consider; he’s grieving as well, and having to pony up the funds for a new horse was not on the agenda.
Possibly having to find another place to board is another consideration; Nancy’s barn was utterly perfect and wonderful and while I’m on the waiting list, there’s no guarantee of course and that’s a disheartening thought.
My main worry now is my fitness and strength or lack thereof. I was slowly coming back to form with Flash and his forgiving nature, but I’ll definitely need a whole other level to be test riding strange horses. I was a catch rider for many years and picky with who I rode (the one time I wasn’t at an endurance ride it ended poorly). I know exactly where I need to be to hop on unknown horses and it’s at least a month or two away of steady workouts (the kind I’ve been neglecting). I’ve never been great at fitness for it’s own sake, all my efforts have always been horse focused so managing it without that motivation is trickier.
There’s also the search itself to consider. I can easily create a list of what I’m looking for and what I can handle, but moderating myself and not just going for what’s easy will be tricky. I’ve been so incredibly lucky with all my animals thus far I have a basic optimism that everything will work out yet again, it’s just going to take more effort on my part (what a wild concept!) Either way it’s going to be a long, weird, hard winter without my giant golden buddy.