Today marks the end of my half lease on an amazing horse that I was lucky enough to ride for the last year and 8 months. I have one ride left on her this coming Saturday, and bittersweet it will be. Reasons don’t need to be elaborated on. It was time.
But what this blog is about is what this mare did for me. In September 2011, I sold my horse to the people who were leasing him and was a bitter, jaded, angry person who swore off horses and riding. I was done with it. I never thought Id go back, it was time to try something different! Only, nothing really can ever replace that passion when its ever present. But I was unlucky enough to have a job that consumed my life so I didnt get to try those other things. And the horse bug kept nipping at my heels.
I would venture to a show now and again, go back to the barn to say hello. I tried considering riding other places, but I knew in my gut no one could compare (see previous blog) to my trainer. So I started talking to my trainer about taking lessons. We dont really have lesson horses, and I wasn’t going to ride my old horse any time soon. So I got a “we’ll figure something out.”
Then came the text message from a friend, asking if I might be interested in half leasing her horse. Again, for undisclosed reasons, I had been approached to half lease this mare, this amazingly talented, sweet, award winning mare. OF COURSE!
And during my time with her, I have been reminded of many things. I learned to trust again, to know my horse and their body language and how to distinguish between a spook and just going on tour to check out the world. I learned how to ride a very talented, but crooked horse who not only needed to be straightened out but also needed to be left alone. I have always very much been a push ride lover, but this girl has since changed my mind. I’ve learned how to ride quiet, how not to pull, how to stay out of her way. I regained a confidence I never thought I would find again. She saved my tush more times than I can count, and I only fell once. And that once was my fault and she did all she could to stop but wasn’t able to.
I got to horse show again, for the first time since I was 14. It was scary, it was thrilling, and it is one of my favorite memories. I learned how to ride a hack winner, how to get my horse to move off my leg into their bridle and stretch out. I had to remember how to ask for lead changes, and how to get a horse to land off a jump on the correct lead. I learned how to get down a line and not be scared.
When I first started riding seriously as an adult over 7 years ago, it was an old grey mare that brought my soul back to life. And again, it was a grey mare who reminded me how to confident in my ability to ride well. If I ever win the lottery or somehow manage to stumble across enough money, I will buy this mare and never let her go. I haven’t felt this way since my pony, Billy. Dont misunderstand, I loved my horse I owned for 4 years. He saved my life and taught me a lot of different lessons, but his greenness and my fear were not a good combination. But I am able to ride him now with a confidence I didnt have before. And that is because of this grey mare.
I will still see her when I am at the barn, and I may even give her kisses still when no one is looking. But she has left some big shoes to fill when it comes time for me to find my next horse.
I am so grateful for every second I spent with you, my dear, in and out of the saddle. I will never be able to thank your owners enough for the time they gave me with you. You are so special in so many ways. I will not forget what you taught me. Thank you.
It’s back to weekly lessons for me, and saving pennies in hopes that I will be able to afford something in the spring. The bar is high.