It had been a few days since I spent some time in the saddle, and I missed Reo. Last Wednesday called to me, as I had been wandering around the house, restless as usual. It was a wonderful day for riding, the rain had stopped, it was slightly breezy, and the air felt just damp enough to imagine a day riding near the ocean. Reo was rather a dullard that day, I think because it was humid, which made it very pleasant to simply walk around and make my needed body adjustments. He seemed a little stiff, and my right hip joint made it very difficult to position myself correctly in the saddle once I mounted; however, once we began moving in sync, my body joined with his and we both became comfortable. His stride extended to cover more ground, and I experienced the joy I always feel as his body rolls side to side, his strength and power totally under my control. It’s always an exhilaration.
Because of the rainy weather, Buddy and his pasture mates had to stay up for a day, so when it cleared I drove over to his barn and turned him, Bella and Toby out in the field. I keep forgetting how darn tall Toby is. He must be very close to 17 hands….it’s almost impossible to reach up to his head to put the halter on and then lead him out. He was very good, though, as was Bella. Buddy neighed for his turn, because he hates for them to be out of his sight. The barn owner, Wendy, says Buddy is now completely in charge of the other two. She thinks it’s crazy that the 32 year old, one-eyed, Appaloosa gelding is now in charge. As I said before, he is something special, that old boy. He looks pretty good, still has lots of hair to shed, but he moves, he eats, he enjoys life. That’s all I can ask for.
I haven’t previously spoken of our dogs, Jake (a very old shepherd mix), Chloe (a chubby Corgi mix) and Nellie (a middle-aged, All-American dog). They are our companions here at home. When we lived on the farm in North Carolina, they were able to roam the pasture land and woods, visit the horses, chase wild turkeys, and truly enjoy a sense of freedom. It was completely fenced in so they could not leave the five acres, but they thought they were living the wild life. Their next home with us was only one acre, fenced, but they still had land to roam on, bark at the Canadian Geese that lived near the creek, annoy the neighbor, and generally live the good life. Now they share our home in a neighborhood on one-quarter acre, totally fenced with a six foot solid fence, and they still enjoy playing, annoying the birds gathered around the bird feeder, and digging up the grassy yard. However, they much prefer being out in the front yard with Chuck, viewing the wide world rather than the tall gray fence out back. I bring this all up because we are once again going to take them to a new home. This time they will be living in a small home with only green space that they can see, but not be allowed to freely roam. They will have to go for walks with us, on a leash, and only be allowed on our patio when we are there. No more pretending to be wild wolves. They will adjust, as we will, to this downsizing of our life. I tell them, “If I can adjust, you can adjust.”
So, my mind has been consumed this week with scouring the Internet in search of a new home, closer to our son in Cincinnati, selling this house, selling half of everything we own, mentally adjusting, and lastly, finding a new, affordable home for Reo, and maybe Buddy. The last item irritates Chuck, but I can’t help it. Since I was seven years old horses have been part of my life, and when I think of losing them, I actually get aches in my stomach. Hard for someone who doesn’t feel that sensation to understand, but those of us who have bonded with these wonderful creatures understand. If there is a God, then he simply chose some of us to be caretakers of horses. If He didn’t do it, then something did!
Of course, money is part of our life, too, and it’s tight, which is part of the downsizing (along with getting older and difficulty in keeping up this home). Which is another reason Chuck kind of resents, maybe hates, the horses. But he has hung in there for 45 of our 56 years together, and I am thankful he is still able to cope with this expense until my or the horses’ deaths.
And now we prepare to move on, along with our pet family, to new adventures and new pleasures. I will try to make it fun rather than a dreaded experience. If only I could put that into Chuck, too.