Monday, February 11, 2013


It's probably not surprising to anyone reading this that it's taking me some time to adjust to the fact I've decided Fi needs a new partner.  We get so tangled up with our equine partners that it can take time to get untangled.  Fortunately I don't have to do it all in a rush.  Unfortunately, it gives me plenty of time to think about it and second guess myself.  Really, who wants to say goodbye to such a good friend?

I don't like goodbyes.  I said goodbye to a school horse yesterday.  To see her in her stall on that day, you wouldn't be all that impressed.  Bay mare with a lot of white hairs showing up, the slightly sunken in look that comes with great age, bundled up in blankets.  She riffled my pockets while I scratched behind her ears.  She was a stellar school horse, able to guide even the greenest, most nervous riders around their early jumping courses.

What many of them didn't know was that Shari was once an Intermediate level eventer and had hauled many a rider around cross-country.  Not only was she an upper level eventer, she was a talented horse that was hard to beat.  That mare forgot more about cross-country then I know.  I think all school horses should get respect, but Shari more than most.  A horse that could gallop and jump at that level, now showing nervous adults that jumping was safe and okay.  At the age of twenty-seven, Shari got a blue ribbon with one of her teen riders over fences at a local show.  That was her last show, and a fitting way for her to end her amazing career.

I will remember Shari for her quirks and charm.  While she was a sweet, kind lady, she would occasionally have flashbacks to being an elite athlete.  One brisk fall day, she bucked after a fence and almost dropped her rider.  I don't know who looked more surprised, the rider, the trainer, or Shari.  Taking her out to turn out on a windy day did require a chain shank.  Shari would snort and prance all the way down the hill.  If a rider happened to hit the right buttons, this fancy dressage horse would emerge.  I had one little girl that was riding a rather frisky Shari in a chilly morning lesson.  Shari was going on the bit, showing a lovely, floaty trot with plenty of forward.  The rider was mystified.  That's not what old school horses are supposed to feel like.  My instructions to the little girl?  "Whatever you do, don't kick."  You don't kick Intermediate level horses, especially when they're feeling good.

I never got to ride Shari and I regret that.  I have a serious weak spot for these old war horses.  Her, Alac, an old thoroughbred named Roo, my horse Allen.  The wise old souls that will roll their eyes and take care of a rider that's screwed up.  They know how it's done.  They may be creaky, cranky, and quirky, but they have so much to teach us.

Considering how my weekend went, is it any surprise that I bawled when I had to rehome some of my fish?  The cough syrup probably didn't help.  Spending the weekend digging out my . . . everything after the big blizzard seems to have taken it's toll on my immune system.  I wheezing, sniffling, sneezing, and I think I might have a fever.  And I have a dressage clinic tonight.

Being drugged to the gills is like being relaxed, right?  Feverish delusions is like a zen mind space, right?

I'm so screwed.

1 comment:

  1. She sounds like a one of a kind mare, and very worthy of your eloquent tribute to her.