One Year

First time I met him, eight months before taking him home.

It has been a whole year since I laid my funny, charming, kind, little black horse to rest.

Some days, I’m certain I’m okay and have moved on. Other days, I’m pretty sure I still haven’t moved from the spot where he left me, his knees buckling underneath himself as he laid down to sleep that final time. I am stuck there, my heart pounding and eyes clouded, as the grief stabs my stomach again and again and again and again and again.

Second time I worked him at B’s. He always parked out when I asked him to stop.

The mourning has been an entirely different animal this time around. GP was 34 when he died. He had lived a long, full life and while we had one hell of a bond, it started off so one-sided and blossomed so slowly that I was still wrapping my head around what it meant to have a true relationship with a horse when he died. It was a soul freeing experience to even have touched on something like that, and it opened me up to what an even deeper bond could look like. He saved me and taught me what the power of love could really do. I was shattered when he moved on out of this world, but I knew, even on the worst days, that there would be another critter for me to love, even if I couldn’t acknowledge it at the time.

The day I brought him home: January 26th, 2013. I never thought for a second I’d lose him just seven months later.

Then Image happened. It took me eight months after originally meeting him to bring him into my life, because I was scared shitless that I couldn’t be what he needed. It took eight months for me to realize that we were what each other needed, and that I couldn’t let fear run my life any longer.  It felt “right”, whatever the hell that may mean. Accepting Image into my life was me, in a round about way, saying “thank you” to whatever fates or gods there may be, for giving me GP. GP saved me, and now I was supposed to save Image — not that he needed saving in the traditional way; B had already done that and had given him many healthy years. I was supposed to help heal his psyche the same way GP had healed mine. I told him the day that I released him into the paddock at L’s that I would never, ever stop fighting for him because he deserved to always have someone fighting for him. B passed that torch to me when she allowed me to take him home (god, am I ever grateful to her for trusting me) and I didn’t think for a second that fighting for him was going to mean letting him rest so soon after bringing him into my care.

Funny pony roughhousing with Gus.

We spent seven months together. I could wax poetic about how brilliant every single second was, but that’d be a lie, and I’ve never been much of a liar. There were terrible days when I was sure I had made a huge, nasty mistake and that I was fucking him up worse. There were days where I couldn’t figure out what was going on his brain and we frustrated each other to death because of it. Hell, there were days where I looked at him, and he looked at me, and I turned around and left the barn because neither of us were in the right frame of mind to even think about even being together, never mind working together.

Tolerant pony was tolerant!

Those days, however, are muted. The days that shine were the days that he placed his trust, however tentative, in my hands. The day he, with so much trepidation, shuffled up to me after a good round pen session and plunked his head in my chest. The first time I rode him without an explosion. The hours of sitting by the river or in the field or in the ring, just being together. His willingness to TRY, even if he was scared (or probably hurting) or confused or absolutely sure he shouldn’t trust me. His slow but steady change from standoffish and aloof, to reaching out for me and the halter when I walked into the paddock. His hysterical, adorable little trick of tilting his head like a dog when you asked him to “say please!” His tolerance for my antics and inability to let him be dirty, ever. There was so much that I loved about that little horse that my heart nearly burst with joy every time I spoke about him. I was in awe of him and how quickly he managed to wiggle his way into my soul, despite the fact that I was still broken from the loss of GP.

Handsome is his pretty bridle!

Sadly, the days that shine are the days that cause the most pain now. I wish they could, but they’re still unable to negate the emotional battle zone within my own head. I wish I could get through the fire, but I find that it’s still too heavy to muddle through, even a year later. I am angry. I am confused. I am scared. It’s all quite juvenile, when written down like that, but there it is. I had two extremely important critters taken from me in a very short amount of time. Life isn’t fair by any stretch of the imagination, but the child in me is still trying to recover from an epic temper tantrum fueled by grief and impatience over not knowing what’s next. I seriously wonder if I will ever find (or allow myself) another horse that I will love as deeply. I don’t know, and I’m loathe to think about it. He taught me to chase the sun, but chasing the sun when it feels like you’re running in place is not the easiest task in the world.

Photoshoot with Kate Taylor/Polar Square Designs. 
Photoshoot with Kate Taylor/Polar Square Designs
Photoshoot with Kate Taylor/Polar Square Designs

It hurts something fierce, but I don’t regret him. I will never regret him or the role he has played in my life. I am deeply, deeply grateful for his presence and the things he taught me. He is, and forever will be, the funny little black horse that taught me how to chase the sun.

How much is that pooooony in the window…!
Taken July 25th, 2013. I let him go the next day.

Not every single second was lovely, perhaps, but I loved every single second. Rest easy, my sweet Image.

Love Me In Focus
“Image”
2002-2013

Laughter is Poison to Fear

You know what makes me laugh?

Sitting on top of Simba while he tries to figure out where the hell to put his legs. We’re just getting back into the swing of things now that his evil girth rub is healed, and after nearly two weeks off, he went “WHARGLBLARGLE I HAVE LEGGGSSSS LET ME SHOW YOU THEM!” I was far too busy laughing at his uncoordinated flailing to be worrying about the fact that he could potentially fall on his face. Thankfully, neither of us ate dirt!

This makes me laugh too. *wheezy breathing* Luuuuke, I am your faaather!

After riding my coworker’s spicy little Paso Fino mare, Tica (big post on that coming too, eventually…), I was all excited to ride…so, ride we did! Simba and I explored the trails on the other side of the road last weekend, and ran into some literal and figurative roadblocks. All of a sudden, puddles have become a Big Scary Monster in Simba’s little pea brain. To monkey our way to the trails on the other side of the forest, we have to pass by/finagle our way around a pond. There are small streams we need to cross, no more than glorified puddles. These mean we turn into a  big, snorty, wide eyed palomino fire breathing dragon. He tiptoes across the water after some encouragement, but it is terrifying and he is sure that something is going to eat him.

Needless to say, nothing ate him.

There is much exploring to be done on the trails over there, and explore we did. There was bushwhacking to be done due to recent storms and though I could tell he thought I was batshit insane, he did what I asked without too many questions. It was a good long ride due to how much exploring we did (read as: I got us horribly lost and we wandered aimlessly until I got back to a part of the trail I knew…whooops) and we were both knackered by the time we got back to the barn.

Fortunately, during our “exploring”, I found some LOVELY trails at the bottom and we played with gait and canter. I spent a lot of time checking him back from a hard pace back into something that resembled a four beat gait. Like most gaited horses with a slightly longer stride, I’m finding that he has a hard time holding his gait over uneven ground. Gaiting is a lot harder for horses to do, period, so I’m not surprised, especially where he is not the most naturally gaited critter on the planet. He also does not have any semblance of “self carriage”, and with his hatred of being micromanaged in any way, I have a hard time finding the balance between making him work and pissing him off completely. I am contemplating calling out Julie Dillon, a local gaited horse guru, to see if she can give me some solid pointers for helping keep him in gait and some general collection pointers.

“Rawr I EET YOU!”

His canter, however, has come along in leaps and bounds. He has put two and two together and associates the “kiss” noise with canter, so I hardly have to use leg…and he’s been much better about self-rating in the canter lately. The long, grassy trails were perfect for a good canter, so I sat back and let him do his thing. We cantered around on a loose rein like old pros, and he only tipped an ear at a scary bird in the woods (don’t blame him for that). He has either become quite a bit braver or has decided I’m trustworthy, because we have not had a day of true tense pony ridiculousness in quite some time, even if he hasn’t been out in awhile. Thankfully, he’s never been dangerous, but I really hate the feeling of having a bomb under my ass. We spend much more time riding on the buckle lately than anything else. Part of it is probably my doing as well — I know him better, so I’m slightly more relaxed and spend more time laughing. More laughter = less inclination to be growly over his ridiculousness.

He does make me laugh, the silly little blonde beast. He’s also tolerant beyond belief of me and my antics. Another coworker came by on Sunday, and she helped me chase the ponies around. It was good fun for us and the horses got some exercise.

SNORK.
Zooms. I haz dem.
Fabio! Wish this picture was in better focus.
Handsome pony is handsome.
One for the baby Flynn fans.

Theennnn I did this. How to Make the Internet Mad 101!

Pose shamelessly stolen from Dom. He was a superstar for letting me climb on him in a halter and leadline and plunk around. Disregard my gross feet…I helped move hay and then did stalls in flip flops. More ways to piss off the internet!
Then he made friends with Pepper the Pig! “Wat R dis?!”

He has also decided he knows how to ground tie? Okay. I’ll take it!

We are having a good time and have come to a tentative truce with one another. A truce is better than nothing, so I’ll take that too. He is still for sale, though I’ve had very few nibbles from qualified owners.

Off and running on another busy weekend — headed to CT tonight to spent the night before going to NYC for my second Sara Bareilles concert of the week. I haven’t had any time to even think about seeing the silly yellow horse this week, so hopefully Sunday we can play!

Brief Interlude

I’m usually pretty good with words. Good enough to get my point across, anyway. Today, I could wax poetic about the reason why Sara Bareilles’ “Chasing the Sun” struck me so hard. I could explain about the sweet, wonderful little black horse that I loved from the bottom of my heart and how he was peacefully laid to rest days after The Blessed Unrest dropped, and how it felt like he was the one “sending” me this beautiful song. I could go into detail about how I was an orphan by eighteen, having lost both my parents separately to a physical illness and a mental disorder, and how this song reminded me that their spirits still lived on somewhere. I could say a lot of things. All of them would be depressing and entirely against the point of why, exactly, this song shook me to my core. All of them would fall short of what I’m trying to get across.

Instead, I will say this: there are few artists that bring me to tears. There are even fewer who write things that I will agree to have permanently etched into my skin. I am constantly blown away by Sara’s talent, exuberance and passion. I was forever changed by the message in Chasing the Sun, and even if I wasn’t a huge fan of Sara’s work before, I would be just based on how my entire perception of how to approach everything in life was altered in just one song.

Happiness is not something you “get”. It is not an idle pastime. It is a verb, it is something you DO – it is something you are forced to seek out, because no one is going to hand it to you. You need to work for everything good in this life, because you are not entitled to happiness. I have always said that you need to live life as vibrantly as possible, but being happy is much more than that. The words on my wrist are a constant reminder to reach for the things I want, and to not expect them to fall into my lap.

I need to chase the sun.

I saw Sara in concert for the fourth time last night, and will up that number to five by the end of the week. I cried through the entire live performance of this song. I’m a sappy moron, but I felt Image’s presence and it was cathartic. I miss him so much, especially with the anniversary of his death looming so close. I go back and read the things I wrote when he was alive, and I get frustrated with myself, because the joy I felt just being in his presence radiates from my words. I feel like everything is dull now. Simba and I have reached a tentative truce and we are spending MUCH more time having fun and enjoying each other (or, well, not trying to beat each other with two by fours, anyway), but I am not his person and that is clear to both of us. Finding him his person will be a huge step in the right direction for both of us to find what we need.

Horse-centric post on the way (though I refuse to say when because when I do that I ultimately fail at getting it written/up on time).

VACATION.

I AM ON IT. AND I AM EXCITED ABOUT IT!

Of course, it’s stifling and hot and dingbat has a nasty girth rub (bad pony mama!) that will. not. heal. and (biggest suck of all sucky things right now) my grandfather passed away on the 4th. He was ill, so he’s in a better place (Jesus H. Christ that’s cheesy), and hopefully with my grandmother, but there is still that hollow feeling that comes with loss. I, admittedly, did not know my grandfather well, despite the fact that my sister and cousins and I spent most major holidays running around his chair, so mostly I hurt for my aunts and uncles. I know this feel, and it’s not a fun feel. It’s the unfunnest feel of all feels.

I will say, however, that I will miss him taking my hand and asking me every time he saw me (without fail), “how are the hossies doin’?”

In other news, I will have legitimate content that is not boring or depressing tomorrow. I am ignoring the heat and all the other crazy New England summer things, and going riding at a coworker’s on one of her spicy, wonderful, give-it-to-me-NOW Paso Fino mares.

I may somehow stuff her into the back of my car. We’ll see how well that goes.