Things have been tough lately. Last week, I lost a friend. She had a lengthy illness and it wasn't exactly unexpected, but of course that doesn't help how much it hurts.
As anyone who ever lost a loved one knows, the loss -- whether it's a family member, a friend, a horse or a pet -- tends to trigger other losses, too. So as I grieve for my friend, I also grieve for my mother, my dog from 5 years ago, and the amazing Arab mare I had during my childhood and teens.
On the day my friend died, I had a riding lesson scheduled. Maybe it sounds weird, but I went to it. I had been wallowing all day and wanted to try to focus on something else.
As I was getting ready to go to the barn, I told my SO that I wished I would be riding a horse other than Marve, maybe a more "soulful" horse. Like my old Arab mare. Some horses just have that old soul thing going on, and if I had gone grieving to the stable to meet my mare, I just know she'd look at me as if she understood. Not that there is anything wrong with Marve, but he's got a different personality. And of course, this made me miss the mare again, and then my mother. But still I pulled myself together and went to the stable.
When I got there, I petted Marve and smelled his face. I don't have to tell you guys about that horsey smell and how comforting and familiar it is. It was good to see him. But I still felt fragile, and was worried I wouldn't be strong enough, mentally or physically, to handle one of his bolting sessions. So I spoke to my instructor and told her exactly what I felt I needed and what would make me comfortable in the lesson. She listened without question and supported me in all that I asked for. After the lesson, we had a bit of a chat. I know she has been through some rough times these last few weeks, too, but it was great to get her support. I have to say that I really admire and respect my instructor as a person. She has a good heart. And I'm glad I knew when to speak up about my needs in the lesson.
The schooling show at the barn was this weekend. I stayed at home, as planned. Since I told the barn manager in advance I wasn't going to ride Marve, someone else could have, but I found out that he was not ridden in the show. Apparently he has been bolting with other people occasionally, too, and especially when he's right behind another horse. I guess they decided not to risk it, and I'm glad for that. Part of me wanted to be at the show this weekend, but I know it was the right decision, and the safe one, to skip it. And now I feel that more strongly than ever, since I have so much healing to do.
I have been making a conscious effort to focus on all the wonderful things I do have in my life. First and foremost, a loving partner in my SO. My health. Financial stability. Happiness. I have it good and I know it. I just need to concentrate on that when things do go wrong.