Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Heartbreak and Hooves

"There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man."
~Winston Churchill

That quote has been manipulated by many people, including Ronald Reagan, and can be very true, depending on the horse.

Horses can be like anything one loves in life, a pure joy, almost high that someone feels, like a runner crushing a marathon.

They can also break your heart. I have a friend recovering from a knee injury not sure she would ever run again, and running for her is like breathing, how is it possible to not do it? That is horses to a tee.

These big beasts that carried men through war and pull plows, buggies, jump huge jumps and carry police officers around cities are incredibly fragile. They seem to "break" every bit as easy as we do.

We have a lot of heartbreak at the moment where I ride. Injuries that have these beauties recovering for six months to a year or more. I know when my Sweet William was injured I could have sunk thousands into his recovery but he was already in his 20's so retirement was the only answer. It devastated me, he was my safe place through the hardest point in my life. When he had to be put down from a tumor that blocked his throat two years later I didn't know if I would ride again.

He's not the first to break my heart. Most have taken a chunk, whether an early retirement or a myriad of circumstances that led to sadness or disappointment, I have had my share of equine angst.

But I have a second chance with a beautiful big boy, Stewie, so generously put in my care by his loving previous owners. Much like William was left to my care as well and we had an amazing 12 years together. But Stewie had a pretty bad injury, he recovered and reinjured. That's tough on a huge body. I know when I tore both of my ACL's I was told if I re-tore it was only that much less likely to hold.

But this guy is worth the chance. He has the personality of my Sweet William and the presence of a 'King of the Ring.' Everyone that watches his trot and canter can't help but to say "Oh My!" He floats. I've never used this word before for anything I've ever ridden, he is lovely.

But at every moment as he becomes my next heartbreak I hold hard to the hope that I'm taking him slow, recovering him in a smart way, and will give him a lifestyle that hopefully keeps him healthy and happy. He seems to know me now and he is very content in his new life. We have figured out a trust and bond in two months that make me proud of us both.

So there is always a next chapter, a second chance. Whether you're a heartbroken rider, a recovering athlete or simply having any setback in life that seems so devastating in the present. There is always hope, a second chance or a new challenge. Sometimes you have to search for it and sometimes, with patience, it is dropped at your door with four hooves and a love of carrot kisses.

Never lose hope.

"They say a person needs just three things to be truly happy in this world: someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for."
~Tom Bodett


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