Last week was a week. It had nothing to do with Poet or anything horse, but I went through the wringer emotionally and really needed the barn to be that beacon of sunshine and rainbows that can magically fix anything. Spoiler alert—that did not happen.
It’s not Poet’s fault that it didn’t. On Friday morning, I went out to watch trainer work him per usual. He got a great report last week, partially due to him slowly finding this crazy thing called “maturity” but mostly due to my trainer knowing every trick in the book. He doesn’t like having to give in to any sort of rein pressure and has a bag of tricks he uses to avoid having to bend. Don’t get me wrong, we’re not trying to get his head down or any nonsense right that. We’re trying to get basic steering and bending.
On the line, he will pull against the bit, put his head down and buck. So trainer, being the brilliant trainer that she is, set the side reins higher. They’re not tight, but they don’t allow him to him to put his head between his knees and express himself. This led to lots of learning, and he started to give in and just do the thing. Thanks Poet. We love it when you do the thing!
This development led to me getting the greenlight for a lesson on Saturday morning. For the first time since I’ve owned him, I woke up with excitement in my belly that I got to go ride my baby horse!
However, after I got him out of turnout and tacked him up, we discovered that he was sore on the right front. The leg had no heat or swelling, and best I can figure it’s a stone bruise from running around like a moron Saturday morning. Unlike Simon, Poet pony knows how to make good use of the turnout in California for playing.
I’m not worried about the soreness, at least not yet. He has tiny little feet (which has brought about a new set of anxieties about how he’s clearly too small/fine boned/tiny footed for big rider me and should only be owned by a tiny sprite of a person… but that’s the subject for another anxiety attack) and was shod Thursday for the first time by our farrier. He might have been a little sore from that, since his feet were overdue, or he might have just stepped on a rock.
But I will be honest and say that I was upset driving home from the barn. Like, tears in eyes berating myself for crying upset. I was really looking forward to something good after such a shitty week, and that didn’t happen. Plus, after turnout Poet’s brain kind of leaves his head. I think all of the “me” time gets to him, and he forgets manners. So not only was my horse too sore to ride, but he was also a space cadet.
On a good day, I brush that off as baby behavior and don’t think any of it. But on Saturday, I needed my Simon. I needed to be able to swing a leg over my trusted friend, have a good ride and disconnect from the world for a little while. I don’t know when, or if, I’ll feel that way about Poet.
How long does it take to truly love a horse? That answer is as individual as horses. Three days, three months, years, never. I knew Simon for about two months before I owned him, but by the time he was officially mine I was head over heels. I loved every flaw on that ribby, green-bean nerd horse.
I’m excited about Poet. I love watching him progress. I have visions of flat classes and hunter stardom in our future. I’m committed to training him to the best of my ability (and by training, I mean hiring trainers) to see this thing out. I like him (the vast majority of the time, full blown baby dragon excluded), but I don’t love him.
Some days, especially when I need my friend, I am still deeply sad. Having Poet fills a horse shaped hole, but it doesn’t fill a Simon shaped one. Only Simon can do that, and he exists to me only in memory. Sometimes, memory isn’t enough.
So forgive my melancholy in this update today. It’s emotional rather than logical, but horses aren’t always a logical endeavor.