This seems to come as no surprise to anyone except me. I've been resisting and resisting with all my might. Jackson has made me happier than any other horse in my entire life. He's also been lame most of the year and he is, again, lame. Lame. Lame. Lame. Not abscess lame. Laminitis lame. I've moved from denial to grief. All my dreams of the dressage journey and trail rides on the beach are shriveling up like the hollow apples left on the trees.
The pain ebbs and flows, but most of the time he stands like this. Even with bute and pads, he isn't comfortable. I caught him the other day doing the laminitis park -- the stance they take with their feet forward and their weight rocked back. I turned away. I tried to pretend I hadn't seen it.
For Christmas, my parents gave us a generous gift. We were going to use it to do some remodeling in the mud room bathroom. Yesterday, Brett suggested that I use it for a new horse. It's not enough for a whiz bang warmblood. But it is enough for a steady sound trail horse with potential. I looked at some horses on line. I talked to our trainer. And our vet. And the nutritionist. My parents said a horse would be a better use of the gift than the bathroom -- and they don't even like horses. I went to bed depressed; feeling like I was putting Jackson in the old folks home and looking for a new husband. Of course, I'm not. Jackson will live here forever. But, that is how it felt.
This morning, while I was picking his feet some dogs started barking and he startled. He jumped sideways, knocking me over. I landed on my left seat bone and it hurt. Jackson hobbled back to his hay and I hobbled out to the edge of his run-in shed and sat on the wood edge. I folded my arms across my knees, put my head down and sobbed. Deep, hard, can't breathe sobs. My seat bone didn't hurt that bad, but my heart was breaking.
I expect it will take me a long time to find a horse. I want sweet and sensitive, smart and brave, curious and willing. I want sound. I want hooves so hard they don't need shoes.
In the meantime, I'll be riding Flash whenever Brett lets me borrow him. And I'll be sitting with Jackson, cleaning his manure stains, and scrubbing his tail.
And maybe by next Christmas I'll be riding my own horse again.