I’m losing Pops.
His owner’s needs have changed, and they will be moving to a facility quite a bit further away. Realistically, I had to turn down the invitation to come ride him. It’s hard to let go. How long have I been riding him? For his current owner: 4 years, 5 years? One of those years was 5 days a week. Then it fluctuated from 2-4 depending on circumstances. With Pops previous owner, catch riding him was much more random. That was about a year. 5 or 6 years is a long time to be in a horse’s life. I am invested in his health, well-being, and I’m hopelessly attached. I was lucky. I got a day to say goodbye. I know where he’s going, and I know he will get top-notch care. That is very comforting.
I came one day to find Jumbo and Jimmy simply gone. Not a word from their owner. I’d been caring for them and riding them for three or 4 years, 5 days a week. I know it’s silly, but I worry about them. Jumbo is tricky, he was my “Mafia Boss” ride. It was a fine line to walk, dealing with his personality, and the possible undesirable behaviors that could come from not reading him correctly. I had to out think Jumbo. He’s smart, and plays his cards close to his chest. A more black and white sort of rider could easily go to heavy punishment, instead of distraction, coming back to the work, and reward. The reason his previous owner sold Jumbo, a big, beautiful mover? Jumbo got ticked off by too much heavy-handedness, dropped to the ground, and rolled over on the cowboy, breaking 3 ribs. Pretty darn dangerous. What is going to happen to Jumbo? His current owner rides well, but is intimidated by him, and gets off if she feels him ratcheting up. She panics, and can’t think how to bring him back to earth. I had a couple of hairy rides myself.
Jimmy has a better shot. He’s sweet, totally honest, does nothing ‘bad’. He’s just 8 years old and still green. He doesn’t require finesse as much as he does consistency and structure.
The turnover at this barn is so low, that many of the horses I used to exercise are still there,but retired. Many have also had to be put down due to injury or age-related colic. I’ve been there a long time.
With Pops gone, I had to go throw myself on Tiny, Hudson, and even drive over to a different barn, and throw myself on Barbie. (I’ve never ridden Barbie, or even been part of her daily care.)
I needed to know they were still there. Not as rides. As beings I love and am attached to, who will be part of my internal makeup for my lifetime.
The horses in my life, they are mine, and they are not mine. Right now that feels both extremely fortunate, and scary. I am blessed, and like I feel about most blessings, I am afraid of losing them.