Sunday, August 19, 2012

Busy Weekend and Meeting a New Friend!

This weekend started off with a busy Saturday, as usual! Saturday morning was one of those near perfect riding days; temperatures in the low 60's with low humidity. I love my early weekend mornings because they are peaceful and I can spend time fussing over Nikki. If I don't get an early enough start on Saturdays, however, my morning can be rushed because I have to get home to take Isaiah to his riding lesson. But my timing worked out and I happily drove through the Oley Valley, past the cornfields and the dairy cows, with few other people out and about. After quite a long week at work, I tingled with excitement about my ride on my baby dressage horse! The barn was dark when I arrived, because many of the horses were away at a show. Nikki rumbled her low nicker in response to my greeting, then pressed her head against my chest when I opened her stall door. I took in her special horse fragerance, whispering to her as she snuggled against me.

With an offering of a couple of handfuls of grain, (they started to feed as I gathered my equipment) Nikki seemed satisfied to step out of her stall and prepare to work. After an arabesque with both hind legs (just like Suki and Jenny before her)we were ready to go! Nikki was light and responsive, so I worked on the shortening and lengthening exercises. She seemed satisfied and relaxed at the end of our ride, stretching down during our cool down. I even had time for 15 minutes of hand grazing before I left. I love leaning against her strong shoulder, silently wondering "have you grown since last week????"

Just before I left VMF, I decided to put the top down on my car....the weather was perfect for it. This required a bit of re-organization, given the huge amount of stuff that can be found in my car! And yes, I cranked the radio and cruised through the Oley Valley!

Back at home, I whisked Isaiah out the door for his lesson. We kept the top down on the car, and as we cruised up and down the hills Isaiah raised his hands over his head as if he were riding on a roller coaster. Riding Prissy again in his lesson, Isaiah had moments where he seemed to get the posting rhythm. Home again, but with a stop by Suki. Isaiah set off to look for toads and butterflies, so with a bit of cool air and cloud cover I decided to lunge Suki quickly. Nothing fancy, just transitions and stretching, but as usual she seemed to enjoy it.

Sunday morning weather was beyond perfect! I awoke before my 5:50 alarm, and went for a short run. Out the door by 7 for my ride, with temperatures in the 50's!!! I actually wore a sweatshirt to the barn, imagining an early fall day. The valley was green, and sleepily starting the day. At the edge of one of the cornfields a line of tall sunflowers was in full bloom. Sunflowers always make me smile!

Once again I was first to arrive at the barn and Nikki was ready to come out for her ride. The cool morning had Nikki bright and alert. Light off the leg and soft in the bridle. The lateral work came easy, and transitions were so light I wanted to shout from the rooftops! With a bit more time this morning I was able to do a nice stretchy trot cool down, with Nikki softly blowing contentedly. I wanted the moment to last forever. Plenty of time to clean tack and socialize. I will miss my friends at VMF.

This afternoon I had arranged a meeting with one of Suki's FB fans, whom I had also corresponded with through email and messages. Julie was going to be in the area from Florida, and we had arranged a time to get together at Thistledew Farm to meet. Julie lost her horse in January, having been with him for 25+ years. The ache of that loss was evident in her eyes, as she fondly recalled stories about their relationship. We have unshakable bonds with our equine partners, even after they have crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. But those memories bring smiles in addition to tears as we laugh at their antics and cry because of our loss. We give every part of ourselves to them, holding them dearly in our hearts after they have passed. The ache of their absence may decrease over time, but we are quick to tear when we hit a particularly fond memory. Julie's wounds are still fresh, but she knows that some day she will love another horse alongside her memory of Tee. It reminded me of losing Jenny, wondering if I would ever recover. Memories of Jenny make me smile, but thinking about that last day of her life, my heart aches with the loss.

Sharing a bag of Gummy Bears with Suki, Julie was able to see her heart and soul, no doubt bringing back the sting of her loss. Suki had been out over night, but because the day was cool and overcast, she was put back outside after coming in for morning grain. Here fatigue was evident, as we watched her doze in the crossties! After awhile, we put Suki and Banker back out, since the day was cool and pleasant. The two walked away to the top of the field, but several minutes later while we stood by the gate talking horses, Suki first floated in her trot then casually cantered to the gate in search of treats. Banker followed a bit later, and Julie, Jennifer and I observed their antics. It is so funny to watch those two interact..... Suki has never been that fond of another horse. It warms my heart to watch them together, and I am thankful that my special girl survived.
I am often asked about what "good" has come from this tragedy. Today was an example of that. Meeting wonderful, kind people who we would not have met otherwise. It is important to count the blessings in your life, even when "bad" things happen. I have not always been good at this. But as crazy as it sounds, my horse has taught me that.....

Julie and Suki

Suki has a gift, and once again, I was able to see how her courage in recovery, touched the heart of another admirer and fellow horseman, and I made a new friend. So many thanks Julie, for taking time out of your trip to meet us! And thank you Jen, for joining us! Non-horse/animal people don't always understand, so meeting others who have that same passion, is always so much fun. I hope that we will have an opportunity to get together again. Maybe a bunch of us can meet in Wellington this winter in Florida to be spectators at one of the big shows! Wouldn't that be fun! Safe travels back to Florida tonight Julie!

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