Just because I haven't added to this journal doesn't mean it hasn't been an adventure.
I was looking back at past entries and what we had accomplished last summer and thinking about how we've surpassed SO MUCH of that this past season.
We logged tons of hours on the trail, we even led the rides on several occasions! That is something I never thought Takoda would be up for. He isn't a born lead horse. He's actually really comfortable bringing up the rear and prefers that spot. So, by default we sort of become the guardians of the back of the line when everyone rides.
We didn't spend a lot of time in the arena until later in the summer and it showed. Takoda definitely prefers the trail, he gets bored easily and it is always a challenge to make the arena at least tolerable for him. I know he doesn't like it but sometimes it is the only choice we have a I firmly believe that there is value to arena work. Trotting over ground poles teaches him to mind his feet and where they are in relation to the rest of the world. Patterns keep his brain busy with work rather than mischief, a constant balancing act with Takoda.
The other day we took a short ride out into the field that serves as his "home base" - 20 or so acres of terrain with a little stream, a pond, woods and field. There is a steep climb in an open field to get to the top and although we were just meandering around the stream at the bottom he was convinced that his friends were "up there" somewhere. He simply could not concentrate on walking because he had to stop every five feet and whiney toward to the top of the hill, then wait for a reply, which of course kept coming from the barn because all his friends were in for the night, thus confusing him even more... We got it done but it was a reminder to me what we are in for when we move out on our own.
He is very comfortable with this routine now, and his surroundings. Moving a horse is tricky. You have to be patient and sort of work them into a new routine. On one hand, when the time comes, I won't have to worry about getting him used to other horses right off. But, I do worry about companionship and what the next step will be. He'll need a friend, maybe not a horse, but a friend just the same. He proved to be pretty nicely independent when he was injured. Being away from your herd in a field by yourself for five weeks sucks for a horse. But, he did get to see them in the barn on a daily basis and he did make friends with the donkey in the smaller field next to him. However, when he rejoined the group he was obviously thrilled to be back amongst horses. HIS horses. So, I will need to consider how emotionally difficult a move will be for him.
Then, there is my own fear. No one to bounce things off of. No one to help. No one to ride with. It will all be up to us and I can't even allow myself to contemplate it for too long or I'll chicken out on the dream and just continue to worry like everyone else about what will become of my boarding barn when this or that happens...
I have time to plan and figure things out. I just have to continue to remind myself that there are pros and cons with every scenario.
In Loving Memory
...of the first horse to hold my heart