It was the day before the Open House and when I walked in the barn to set up the extension cord for the shearer who would be coming the next day, I saw my dusty saddle.
My first thought was to dust it off. Because along with the shearer, Ken Norman was also coming to the Open House to trim Chloe’s and Fanny and Lulu’s hooves. And I knew that Ken’s wife Eli would probably be coming too.
I got Chloe from Ken and Eli over a year ago. They rescue horses and when I was looking for a pony, Eli matched me up with Chloe. Eli also gave me lessons so that when Chloe came home with me I felt comfortable enough riding her.
But I haven’t ridden Chloe since last summer. It seems Chloe wasn’t any more into being ridden than I’m into learning how to ride her. In the beginning I rode her and we had our trials. But I found that I really wasn’t drawn to spending my time with her, with me on her back. Riding just isn’t something I’m interested enough in doing.
I realized this a while ago but a part of me kept thinking…maybe someday I’ll get the urge….
Eli and Ken rescue horses and are always trying to find good homes for them. They’re the kind people who don’t have a lot, but are always there for other people and horses in need. Often they’ll get some money for the horses they place in new homes, but money was tight for Jon and me at the time. So when I took Chloe home they not only gave me her, but a saddle and bridle and some extra brushes they had around the stable.
“That saddle’s pretty dusty”, Eli said to me at the Open House. It didn’t take more than that to get a confession out of me. Eli assured me that it was fine if I didn’t want to ride Chloe. She said Chloe would be very happy to spend her days getting taken care of my me without having my riding her.
Then she said she knew someone who could use a saddle, just that size, if I wasn’t going to use it. And she offered me another one, that would fit Chloe even better, if I ever changed my mind.
I could feel the difference immediately. The tension of thinking that I should be riding Chloe, which was always present even if tucked deep inside me, was gone. And I know that Chloe felt it too. It’s like a door opened in our relationship instead of closed. The burden lifted, we were now free to explore a new way of interacting.
I don’t know where it will go, what I’ll discover. I imagine it will close to the kind of thing I share with Fanny and Lulu. And there’s an aura of ease that surrounds me now when I’m around Chloe that wasn’t there before. The feeling that I’m doing just what I need to be doing, not what I think I should be doing.
(Eli and Ken are having some financial difficulties since Eli broke her wrist two years ago and it hasn’t healed properly. They’re trying to raise money to buy hay for the horses and repair Ken’s Farrier Truck. Without the truck Ken can’t work. You can see their Gofundme here.)