I’ve been quietly conducting a new partner search while juggling as much overtime at work as I can, so all thanks to the organizational abilities of Excel. For some it might seem like too short a time, but we all grieve differently and horses are a huge part of me. To not have one to love and pamper and discover the world with is half the crater of loosing Flash. Even with this conviction, there was a definite struggle between waiting longer, to keep looking or make a choice with the options I’ve already seen.
I’ve looked at dozens of horses online, visited seven horses and ridden six, all mares but one. I’m fairly dialed in to what combination of personality, training and characteristics I’m seeking, the main questions being how green I can handle and what size I can live with. We were careful but had fun road tripping and meeting different horses, asking most of the same questions each time. What do they like? How do they spook? What’s their history?
There was one mustang gelding who sounded right up my alley personality and experience wise…but he was 13.3hh and even though I rode Fjords in college when I was a fit young thing it’s literally a bit far down the ladder for me after 16.2hh Flash! There were horses I felt a bit sorry for but I can’t rescue all of them…and that’s hard enough to accept. Mostly they were a bit too green for me, I don’t think I have the ability to patiently and clearly install buttons, only finish and shine what others have started at this point in my life.
Yesterday I visited a mare for the second time and we tossed quite a bit her way to test her brain and reactions, including tacking her up with my English Wintec when she’s only been ridden Western. Despite several changes of girths and bridles and general fussing she handled all of it with grace, never getting too wound up or dangerous. She was not shy about telling me what she didn’t understand while still being willing and seeking us out for reassurances and cuddles. I loved her movement, smooth and quick without being jiggy and honest, I’d ask for a speed and she’d stick with it despite being pretty unfit. We are at about the same point in our lives…I just had a baby a few months ago, and her weanling was sold a few months ago.
Pending solid results from a PPE (mostly to avoid anything glaring for long term trail soundness, she never so much as tripped or bobbled), River will find a new home with me. She has a trail eating stride and a mountain conquering butt, with adequate conditioning and strength building…and therein lies the fun. There’s so many logistics to juggle in the next month to set her up for success, PPE to boarding to saddle fit to farrier work to dialing in her supplements…but it feels…right and good to be prying something happy and hopeful out of this year.
Flash and his giant gold butt and his goofiness and opinions and willingness to try anything for carrots still loom large in my heart, and always will. He was a Golden Horse and a perfect, forgiving, fun ownership icebreaker, and I’ll be forever proud of my time with him, however bitterly cut short. Flash was a shared horse, and it’s cautiously fun to consider building a brand new partnership from scratch with a mare who has never really had her own person. One friend swears the relationship between a mare and her person is much different and sometimes deeper than with a gelding, and I’ve seen such a blossoming with her and her mare that I believe it.
Here’s to the best horses and all they teach us…and to a future viewed between chocolate ears.