Tidings of Change

Rio has been sidelined with a hind suspensory injury. I am devastated, but that is not the focus of this post. For all those wondering, he will be moved home to my parents’ property in January and will have anywhere from 6 months to forever to rehab on 24/7 turnout. No, I do not know if he will recover. If he does, it will likely be for light riding only. It is possible that my mom will have a very fancy trail horse in the future. We shall see!

In the meantime, I have to learn what life is like with Rio out of the picture. So far, it has been an emotional roller coaster. I am very lucky in that my barn has several very capable lesson horses, and I will also have the opportunity to hack other horses for extra saddle time on occasion. No Rio does not equal no riding (THANK GOODNESS). So I should be happy, right?

I had my first lesson on one of the lesson horses Saturday. I have ridden them all before, and they are all quite nice horses. This weekend I rode Cash. I felt really good going into my lesson. I was still getting to jump and lesson despite Rio’s injury, and I was excited to ride someone different.

Cash and I, 8/2018

Once we started warming up my positive outlook took a nosedive. Cash has a choppy trot. He is very behind the leg. He is stiff to the left. He likes to fall-in during right turns. These are obviously all very ride-able “issues” but the realization that he wasn’t Rio hit me hard.

I love Rio’s trot. I love that he is sensitive to the leg and not a push ride. I spent years getting him straight and balanced. Realizing that all of those qualities might be gone for good hit me hard. Riding the lesson horses when Rio was temporarily sidelined last August was fun because I knew I’d have “my guy” back soon. Riding them now with the realization I may never do the same things with Rio again was very very hard. Much harder then I was expecting.

Going to miss having matching expressions with Rio

Will there be a new horse in my future? Maybe, but it’s way too soon to tell. And that horse will have different qualities. I will never find an exact Rio, and I am just not ready for our partnership to be over. But, once I started jumping Cash I was reminded of some of his great qualities. He is very rideable to the fences. Distances come easy to him. His lead changes are extremely easy. These are qualities Rio doesn’t possess. At this point I was kicking myself and basically reminding myself to take this time to learn from every horse possible and focus on improving myself as a rider. I KNOW I shouldn’t be sulking, as I am still lucky to have such nice rides available to me.

Love him so much

After thinking on the lesson a bit more I realized I need to stop comparing everything I ride to Rio. It will be hard, but doing that is a lesson in futility. What is it they say- comparison is the death of happiness? I’m going to keep that in mind as I find saddle time while Rio relaxes.

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  1. Oh wow. I am super sorry to hear about Rio. I am sure that none of that has been easy on you.

    No matter what happens from here, I can guarantee you that Rio has set you up really well for whatever comes next. Whether that be half leasing, leasing, or buying another, you are a better rider than you were pre Rio.

    It’s a hard transition, but I know you are doing the right thing. <3

  2. Oh no! I’m sorry to hear about Rio. I SO feel you on that – taking lessons on horses that weren’t Amber just reiterated how NOT like Amber they were, and I for sure missed that as well.
    I’m glad Rio is going to a great place to rehab 🙂
    While it can be disheartening, riding other horses can very much help you out. For me, while worried about Amber, I was glad that I only rode lesson horses – I had them for my time slot, and didn’t have to worry about their care any other time, which was a relief since I was overwhelmed figuring out how to help Amber. That helped me enjoy the lesson horses, and yes, it’ll be hard not to compare, but I know you can do it :).

  3. I am so sorry to hear about Rio but know he is in a great place when he moves to your parents and near you at any time. But still….you got him going so great. Heartbreak for sure….UGH…

    I am glad you are still riding and hope you find not another Rio but another horse you can love and enjoy and show! Give Rio some treats for me and a pat from me too! He is very special and so are you!!

  4. Oh goodness. I am so, so sorry to hear this! FWIW, my mare had a hind suspensory injury a few years back. I turned her out for a year and let her be a horse – keeping close eye for anything crazy bad. She’s returned to full work and even competition, completing a 50-mile ride in May. I will be thinking of you and Rio and crossing all of my digits that, with time, he will heal and make a complete recovery. <3

  5. You are such a good horse mom, always putting Rio’s needs first. As someone who has gone through a lot of unexpected chapters this year in life, I applaud your ability to look towards the positive.

    Wishing you and Rio the best.

  6. Sulk away! That majorly sucks, and I’m so sorry to hear it wasn’t a much lesser problem. Fingers crossed he has a really good recovery and maybe you guys can enjoy some dressage together some day?

  7. Oh no, I’m so sorry! I knew you were dealing with an injury, but didn’t realize the extent. Fingers crossed he recovers better than expected.
    That said, it’s really ok to feel your feelings, and be sad for what you’re going through. I promise it is. Even when my Rio was still living, I missed riding him terribly. Now I just miss HIM terribly. It’s so hard with these special ones.
    I’m glad you’re able to find the silver linings though. Those are what get you through, and help you find the joy again.

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