In less than two weeks I'll lose my riding partner and only boarder.
And I am sad about it. She's moving to Colorado to take a great job. It's a fabulous opportunity for her and I'm happy for her, but I'll miss the heck out of her and her horse and miss having someone to ride with regularly.
I've ridden by myself for years, and I know I can go back to riding by myself, but I've been spoiled by having a regular riding partner and training friend. You know those days when you know you should go out and ride, and you really want to ride, but somehow the day gets away from you and night falls and suddenly, another day went by and you didn't ride?
There haven't been many of those days since Jaquie has been around, showing up with her infectious smile and suggesting a long, much-needed ride. I'm afraid there will be too many of those non-riding days when she leaves. My daughter isn't as enthusiastic about riding as she once was and convincing her to go out riding with me is sometimes more of a chore than a pleasure, so I skip it. If I force her to ride with me, she complains the entire time, which makes the ride miserable and her miserable and turns my riding time into torture and regret.
I don't know of any riding groups in my area. I don't really have very many horse friends that do much trail riding and certainly none I can partner with for a few fun shows this spring/summer, so, I probably won't be doing any of that this year.
So I start asking myself: Why do I ride? Why do I spend so much time and money and effort keeping horses at home? Well, because I love the horses and I love riding and I love just watching them. I love seeing them first thing in the morning and burying my face into their necks in the evening. I even enjoy riding alone from time to time. But not all the time. When it comes down to it, I get the most pleasure and satisfaction when I have someone to ride with regularly, someone I can share my passion with. Because it's not just about being on a horse, it's about the company, the companionship, the conversation and the hours in the saddle just enjoying life.
I'm going to miss the hell out of that.
It also makes me question the wisdom of keeping a farm and keeping my horses at home. If I'm the only one riding, why do I have a farm and horse property? It's not cheap and it's certainly not always a walk in the park. And why the hell do I have five horses? Doesn't it make more sense to sell the place, sell all the "excess" horses and board Gabe somewhere where I'll have someone to ride with and significantly reduce the expense of horsekeeping?
All these questions, and so far, no real answers. I am, however, actively trying to sell three of the "extras." They aren't being ridden, they are just standing around doing nothing but eating and would be better off somewhere where they will be used. And, they'll be off my feed, vet, and farrier bill.