Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Inheritance and memory

I brought my yearling in yesterday for some training and grooming. I managed to go through my old horse's grooming kit and sort it out so I could use it for my yearling's stuff. He inherited some items from my old horse, and I put the few items he already had into the box.

I felt a bit weird bringing the box out to the crossties - somehow the box still isn't my yearling's kit yet. I still look at it and think of it as belonging to my old horse.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


This morning I looked into the field and saw one of the other chestnuts at the hay feeder. He was standing broadside to me, had the same colour blanket that my old horse did, and his head mostly in the hay. The early morning sun slanted across the field and fired a wide golden highlight along the crest of his neck. For a moment, just a moment he looked like my horse as that golden highlight looked like my horse's mane the way it was always neatly arranged along the left side of his neck. I knew it wasn't my horse, but the shape and colour just vividly brought my horse back to mind instantly.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Tidying up

It's been well over a week, and while most things have returned to normal there are still some tidying up jobs that I need to do. I think about them almost every day I am at the barn.
His bridle is still hanging up on a hook. His grooming kit is still in my locker. His rainsheet still in the trunk of my car. I need to go through my stuff and decide what to do with his things, clean and store the ones I won't be using for a while, and give away, sell or chuck out the rest.
I can't face them yet. I can look past his things without feeling his loss fresh, but I think the act of going through them will be difficult. I need a little more time first.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Who was he?

Almost no one knows who my first horse was now. I think about that, and then I think about my second horse and how I could answer the question "Who was Tommy?"

There are many answers. He was a sorrel American Quarter Horse. He was my first greenbroke horse. He was the horse with whom I entered the dressage arena for the first time - the horse that started my love of dressage. He was the horse with whom I entered the Hunter rings and learned about the hunter/jumper discipline. I wanted to try eventing with him, but his hock issue prevented that from occuring. He was the accident prone horse who came up with so many varied injuries that I became competent in recognizing and treating a wide range of issues - and knowing when to call the vet. He was the horse who kept me going out to the farm after my first horse was euthanized. He was the horse that nickered to me when I called him. He was the horse who was guinea pig for my various trials in keeping an active competition horse on pasture board. He was the horse who taught me about the importance of saddle fit as he showed white hairs from pressure spots very quickly. He was the horse that showed me what true courage was all about. He was the horse who looked after my friends when they rode him. He was my goto horse for teaching people about lateral work. He was lazy enough to not argue with a rider who was determined, but also lazy enough to give the minimum asked for. He was a worrier. He was generous. He was a great heart. He was a trier, willing to try anything if I asked it of him.

He was my student. He was my teacher. He was my partner.

Most of all he was my friend and I am richer for having had him in my life, and poorer for having lost him.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Remembering and Healing

After my first horse was euthanized I took his bridle home and dragged it about from residence to residence for several years before I finally figured out what to do with it. I always knew exactly where it was - it was never left in a box. I knew I wanted the bridle on display but it took me a long time before I worked out how to manage it. I ended up putting it in a shadow box with a laminate mounted photo, a lock of mane, a feather I'd found out hacking one day, a horse shoe and a couple of engraved plates - one with his name and dates, the other with the final verse of the poem I'd written for him.
I know I want to make a shadow box for this horse too. I have his tail and his halter. I will get a plate with his name, registration number and dates done. The photo is, as it was the first time, the most difficult task of all. Going through all the photos I can find to see which would be the best choice to put into the box. It brings back many memories of the days we shared and I think about some of the photos I really liked and go looking for them. Maybe that one? No, it's not quite right - the pose, or perhaps a cluttered background. Do I want a head shot or a full body picture? I chose a full body shot of my first horse - one that I took the day before the vet came. He was a difficult horse to photograph, but I got better at taking good pictures of him over time.
My second horse was quite photogenic and I have lots of good photos of him. Very few photos good or bad from our competitions - somehow the show photographer was always at another ring whenever we were on. I haven't yet found the photo I want, but I have time. There is no hurry to get the shadow box finished as it is a part of the healing process.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Saying Thanks

Friday was just about normal and yesterday pretty good as well. I did carve my horse on a pumpkin and it turned out not too badly.
I spent a part of the evening making thank you cards for the few people who helped me out on Monday. That was difficult. Between trying to find the words to express how much their support meant to me, and not being able to set the memories of Monday aside there were a lot of tears again. But it was something I needed to do sooner than later.