In October of last year we welcomed Paris into our family. I had big ambitions, visions, dreams.
Riding out with my kids!
Another driving pony!
A horse big enough to carry me!
Trails and horse camping!
Those visions morphed and changed, sometimes becoming bigger and then becoming smaller.
But if I’m honest, I wonder these days if any of those dreams, visions, or ambitions even exist anymore.
I’ve had yet to make it “public,” but in January of this year (2022) Paris and I had a driving accident that took us out of work for the next 4 months and nearly took Paris’ life.
I don’t want to talk about what happened or share details. It was scary and left me traumatized. I’m also embarrassed, because I feel like I’ve had a disproportionate number of driving accidents (two with Chroi, and now one with Paris) and I fear how the driving community would judge me.
Paris’ injury still hasn’t completely healed, but the vet cleared us to work again in June. At first I hand walked Paris for 30 minutes a day. Then one day I let her loose in the round pen, and had a small heart attack as I watched her run and buck. The vet had said she was completely fine to be turned out, but I was still afraid of damaging the still-healing wound.
I texted my vet at least two more times- “Are you SURE it’s okay?” The answer was yes. Yes, she can run, buck, and gallop to her heart’s content. Monitor the wound, and take it slow so as not to cause injury bringing her back into work. Our first ride was a handful of weeks ago, and we’ve been alternating round penning, ground driving, and riding as she regains fitness.
“Regains fitness.” Ha! This horse acts as if she never had any time off at all! Her athleticism makes my jaw drop. She runs, jumps, turns on a dime. She has twice the stamina Chroi does. Ah, to be young!
I’ve taken an interest in endurance riding, and am using a lot of endurance riding principles to condition Paris. I hope to perhaps “compete” in a ride, although Fjords aren’t exactly paragons of the sport so I’ll be using the endurance mantra “To finish is to win!” I honestly don’t care about winning, I want to enjoy the ride, the scenery, and the friends.
In endurance the process of conditioning a horse is referred to as “legging up;” as in, getting their legs strong, and improving their hearts, lungs, and metabolics. The phrase “leg up” can also refer to giving someone a boost. Equestrians ask for a “leg up” into the saddle, but the term can also apply to the “leg ups” we sometimes get in life.
I sure feel like I could use a “leg up” right now, in so many ways, and I could certainly use “legging up,” as long Covid has left me in rough shape. This year so far has left me in doubt about my dreams, ambitions, and goals and wondering why I even bought another pony.
But I keep reminding myself that this time has been an interruption, not an ending, and that we will pick up the slack the last 6 months has left us. I don’t have to know the “whys” and the “hows” of my heart, I just have to keep following it.