I know there are many, many people who loved and worked with horses all of their lives, and when they became unable to ride for whatever reason, they continue on with whatever they can do with these alluring animals.
I worked with horses for over 40 years. Pete and I counted up today all of the horses we've owned, and there were over 40. My life was pretty much consumed by them. Then, my injury took away my ability to ride and to even be around horses.
Do I read about them now? No.
Do I watch shows on TV about them now? No.
Do I write about them? No.
All of our artwork in our home is horse-related. No matter what I look at, I see horses.
But they have lost their life for me. I am not drawn to them anymore. In fact, I avoid them.
Pete, years ago, bought me a beautiful, silver-engraved snaffle bit, saying, "Every good horse trainer deserves a good training bit." I still have this bit. When I look at it, I remember how Pete surprised me with it. That remembrance warms me. But it also reminds me of something I can't do anymore. So, I want to sell it. Get rid of it.
In one of the rooms of our new home, there is a row of hooks from which hang our chaps, chinks, bridles and spurs. They have a long wait ahead of them, if they are waiting to be taken down, strapped on, ready for a hard day's work.
I don't go to horse shows. I do get lured back into my old life when I find myself talking with horse people. We talk about training and all of what took me a lifetime to learn comes bubbling forth from my heart and from my lips. But when THEY turn to go, they have horses to train and ride. I turn away, buckle on my CTO vest, get in the truck and Pete drives me home.
I LOVE my life now and my new home. And in order to survive, I don't think about horses. Until I lie awake before sleep, and then I think of the minute movement of my right little finger and the barely perceptible sliding back of my left heel as I nudge my horse into a right lead, collect him by sitting deeper, melding into his back, my eyes up and looking forward into the future, where I'm headed. Where I was headed.
40 horses. 40 years. Why would I be so bold, so greedy to think I deserve more?