My beautiful Bay mare, ‘Baby’ has cushings syndrome. Which means that the end is in sight. And so the process of my grieving has begun. Trying to imagine a life without her in it. Trying to decide where to bury her. Grieving all the dreams I had for us which will probably never now come true.
On one of my weeps with Baby over the last few weeks I realised that for all our life together I have been lamenting how our relationship ‘should’ have been. How we should have been able to ride off into the distance together every day, fearless, bonded, as one, just revelling in nature and each other and the pure bliss of riding safely, harmoniously, peacefully.
My heart had been breaking over the fact that the vision I had always held of our relationship was unlikely to come true. After weeks of weeping I realised what she has given me, what she has brought me, and how she changed my life and its course completely.
Without her, I never would have bought Tinkerbell who is so completely Ben’s pony. I never would have stumbled across Parelli , I never would have started to heal the relationship with my own Mother (because I finally understood how frustration easily leads to temper loss and violence), I would never have met Peter and Judy, I would never have met my wonderful english farrier friend who gave me back so much self esteem, I never would have met the gorgeous Shane vet, I never would have learned to ride again properly, I never would have gone to Tamworth and met Kim, I never would have gone to Kangaroo valley and met the Grippers, I never would have come to Avalon and met Ged and got married and had a son etc.,
I thought I was saving her but it turns out she was saving me. Setting my life on a completely different trajectory. She changed the course of my life. Everything was different after Baby. No longer was I a beach girl, but a paddock and bush girl. My dream of owning land in Australia had to come true, she made it so. She has taught me so much about horses and she has been a serene, nurturing, beautiful background to my life. And with her illness has come a return to the pure love we have for each other and the daily communication which had been abandoned in the busyness of Ben.
I know what it is for horse and human to be bonded heart to heart. We may never have that easy riding relationship I long for. It would be lovely to think that it was still possible and I guess if I had the time and didn’t have a 3 year old I could work to make it so. But now I know that doesn’t matter because owning and loving a horse is not necessarily about riding. I always felt guilty that it was ‘a waste’. But Baby and Tinkerbell have brought me love, they have been patient with me while I learned, they are still patient with me when I am wrong, they have been my companions and friends when I had no others, they have been my children when I was sure they were the only children I would ever have, they have amused and amazed and frustrated and educated me.
Baby is one of the great loves of my life and I can’t begin to imagine life without her. For over 12 years she has been my friend and comforter. I can only hope and pray that I have brought something beautiful to her life too and that she can forgive me for the wrongs I have done her and that she is as grateful for me as I am for her. I wish I had been a better owner, Mother and custodian than I have been. I wish I had more courage and persistence and patience. I love her so much and I do know she loves me.