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.
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.
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.
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.