Friday, October 19, 2012

I needed the barn today.  It was the kind of day that leaves me exhausted, but not the catatonic lethargy typical at the end of a work-week.  More the kind that makes you want to curl up in a bed of warm puppies. Worse, I realized it wasn't the barn I was aching for--it was Ana.

The day started with both of my sons up and wildly arguing at 5:35am.  One knocked over his full cereal bowl--twice--and the other had a supreme overly emotional meltdown over absolutely nothing (he is often crazy overtired by the end of a school week, and more or less is a PMSing 14yro girl by Friday).  Typically, I take T to his preschool while hubby takes the elder boy to his elementary school, but hubby had a morning meeting and I needed to drop off both boys on my way to work.  I barely got out of the driveway before the younger was screaming "Helicopter! Helicopter! Helicopter!" while he swung his balloon animal (left in the truck) around, and the elder was yelling at younger that he couldn't hear the (also loud) Kid's Place radio station.  This is when Mommy barked.  Loudly.  Angrily.  They boys changed their behavior, but Mommy was still growling in grumpy discontent after they were dropped off.

Then, while waiting to make a left turn at a red light, a car two lanes over from me hit a kid on a bike.

It appears the driver was making a right at the red light, looked left to check traffic as she started to turn, and the kid came from her right and was knocked over.  The driver did what they should--she stopped immediately and got out--and it seemed the kid was more or less okay.  She couldn't have been going more than 5mph and more or less knocked the bike over, bending the front wheel.  He was sitting up and being comforted when my light turned green.

Then I just wanted to go hug my crazy, cereal-spilling, helicopter-screaming, pseudo-PMSing kids.

But, I had Other People's Kids to tend to (oh, and educate) today.  Obviously I can't detail much, but suffice it to say every year, I hear stories of heartbreak and pain.  A sweet child who is unusually polite and considerate for their age was in tears when they spoke to me privately, sharing a story of pain and fear interfering with their ability to concentrate on their schoolwork at home.  Later, I struggled trying to find help (and learning the heartbreaking extent of my limitations) for another child whose home life is...well...bad.  Very, very bad.  

Then, the bell rang, and I found myself aching for my horses.

No, my horse.  

I realized, as I was walking through the parking lot, I didn't want to go ride Tril.  I wanted Ana.  This was the kind of day where I'd hop on her bareback, do some walk-trot in the arena, then explore the local trails together.  Typing this, I can still feel her beneath me--her breath, her muscles, her winter fluff.  I needed her.  I missed her; I missed us. Our synergy, our connection, our partnership.

Instead, I have a back-sore boy whom I don't trust enough to ride bareback yet (certainly not while my ankle is healing).  I found myself disconnected as I groomed and tacked him up, because while I needed saddle time, the kind of ride I was going to have with him is not what I was wanting.

Lunging him, I noted his back end was still sore.  Hey, at least this Perpetual Newbie can see it now.  He was dragging his hind legs, hesitant to use them, and stumbling behind.  He also crossfired at the canter on his left lead for a few strides, after counter-cantering following a stumble.  I called the chiro two days ago and they were going to get back to me when they better knew when his schedule was going to bring him out my way, but watching Tril move, I am feeling a bit more urgency.

Seeing how he was feeling, I didn't want to ask much under saddle--not that I can do much, anyway.  He hasn't been exercised since Monday, so despite being lunged first, he was strong and more interested in playing and less interested in listening.  And, after just a few minutes, my ankle was screaming it was tired and weak and NOT up to the fun we had last weekend.  At the pinnacle of my frustration, I looked up while attempting to do figure-8s and saw my husband pulling up with both boys in tow.

And then, and only then, did things start to change.

Hubby put T on his shoulders and brought him up to the fence so I could lean over and kiss him from the saddle. I decided to end the weak arena work we were doing, exited, and decided to take Tril on a loop around the property instead.  At first he was strong, anxious, distracted, but then I directed him to walking over logs (something the chiro had recommended at his adjustment in June) and instantly I had him on a loose rein.  He practically started steering himself over the logs--"Ooh, can we walk over this one now?"

Then, while we started the loop on the private road around the entire equestrian facility, a rooster stepped out and started walking in front of his.  Tril dropped his head, his ears as far forward as he could put them, and started to follow the rooster's every step.  A slight veer left, a slight veer right--Tril was fascinated, watching his every step, then I swear disappointed when the game ended and the rooster ducked into a bush. 

When I brought him back, elder son put Firefly in the main ring for turn out, then I untacked Tril so he could join her.  We decided to have dinner at the barn, and hubby took younger to get something from a local drive through while elder son stayed with me and we just enjoyed our horses and barn life.  It was...well...come see.

Firefly, typical of her, completely ignored us.  But Tril just wanted to hang out with me.  Here, he saw me at the fence taking pictures and was walking up for some affection.

Trotting over to say hello (he made a sharp left turn) upon seeing me again.

Eldest was THRILLED to find this huge roly-poly.  He kept her (we assumed her, as females are larger) for a while.

Tril, wanting to be wherever I am in his typical fashion; Firefly, coming up behind to boss him around in her typical fashion; and older son, studying a creature unearthed in barn life exploration, in his typical fashion.

 This time at the barn enabled me to better enjoy and appreciate my husband and sons and exhale the rest of the day away.  

The day ended, and my tired heart, aching for the dainty grey Arabian mare and shut off to this beefier male version of her breed when I arrived this afternoon, creaked open just enough to let a little light and love in. 

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