February 05, 2009 | | Comments 0

Best Days

Written by Ashley Cole

The moisture in the air on that foggy day caused my broke-in saddle to squeak more than normal.  The chill on my hand that held the reins was more than that of the other, but the love that I felt for her was enough to warm my heart.  As we made our way back toward home, she did not seem to speed up her pace as much as she used to, and the little bit that she did seemed to cause her to walk with a slight limp. I prayed that it wasn’t because she was hurting.  Although she had many years on her, I still felt like she was able to go, but wondered if the weight of the saddle and my body was sometimes too much for her to carry.  I didn’t lope her much anymore because I was scared that she couldn’t handle it.  Maybe this was all just in my head and she still had it in her.  However, I couldn’t help but think of these things.

She would always be beautiful to me,  but there was no doubt that she no longer had the solid, muscled body with smooth bay hair like she did when I saw her that first day.  Her back was now swayed and the few muscles she had sagged and her thick winter hair was dull and wavy.  She still had that same stubborn ‘try to have it her way’ attitude that she’d always had, yet riding her seemed more precious and pleasurable each time.  Maybe that was because I wondered how many more times I was going to be able to saddle her and enjoy another ride.

I’d had many adventures while riding her over the years.  She had taught me how to ride.  Many of those rides were wonderful but some were crazy and scary.   She had tested me, tried my patience, and made me angry on a number of occasions, but she had never really hurt me.  I couldn’t have asked for a better first horse.  As I rode her on that late December day, I thought back on all the years and I realized that the hardest part of having a horse was not the bad rides, or the times you may have to walk them for hours because of colic or even picking their messy stall.   The hardest part is loving them and realizing that your rides are numbered.  The hardest part isn’t the times a horse may buck, kick or bite but when you sense your best days together are behind you.

Romie and Ashley

Romie and Ashley

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