Yesterday we had a “hitting the trail” experience that was encouraging and discouraging all at the same time. The three kids who have horses (Cecily, Danny, and Betsy) and I hit the trail in the afternoon. Betsy rode Lacy bareback as she always does. Danny rode little, stout Sophie. I just love watching her fat draft pony bohunkus! LOL! Cecily rode Spur, of course, and Saxton and I were a team.
Saxton did fabulous again. Sophie spooked a couple times, though she’s not generally terribly spooky, and Saxton didn’t seem concerned about anything but the next mouthful of leaves every time we got near a bush or low tree! In fact, the woman who came to try out Saxton Wednesday kept commenting on how she absolutely loved Saxton’s personality, and how well trained he is and how much groundwork I’ve done with him … and how sane and calm he is! LOL! She thought I’d been exaggerating when I listed him as a “looker” on the trails and told her that he usually spooks about once every ride. I couldn’t convince her otherwise because he’s so calm now!
But although Saxton did great and I’m definitely having second thoughts about letting him go, the exhilaration was marred by a passage of sorts. I was hurt to see poor old Lacy go down on her knees on the gravel at the end of the trail ride. We were on the road and – I can only guess that Betsy is officially too much weight for her to carry now – she stumbled, landing on both front knees and bloodying one up a bit. My heart is just crying about it. Lacy is an angel. She has been an absolute gift from God to Betsy, and especially to me – balm to my soul during a trying time with my own horse and balm to my little girl after a frightening experience for Betsy with a horse that bit her repeatedly. But as she is growing so quickly, Betsy has recently crossed the 100 lb. mark. I guess that even that much weight, though she uses no saddle, is too much for Lacy. And so we find ourselves again facing her mortality. I don’t know what to do now with a horse that is too old and frail to be of use, and consequent of her old age and special requirements, quite expensive and time consuming to keep? I don’t begrudge her the care and don’t have plans to let her go. But the reality of time and money constraints can be painful.
The other horses can be left overnight with some hay and plenty of water and they will be fine when we return. Lacy needs special feed and supplements mixed up three times a day. And now we will have to add a fifth horse to our already crowded barn – and – a very real consideration … find something to do with an extra eight to nine tons of manure a year. I don’t want to see Lacy go somewhere else. I don’t want to see her growing older. But as with our human loved ones, change is inevitable. So this weighs heavily on me now as I ponder our new circumstance.
Once we returned to the barn and cleaned and covered Lacy’s knee, Danny hopped on Saxton and Betsy removed Sophie’s saddle and gave her a try bareback. They worked great in the arena, though Sophie is a pistol and a half out on the trail – hard mouthed and stubbornly given to trotting no matter what else the rest of us do. What to do, what to do?