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Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Tuffy is Alive!

As a little girl I was horse-crazy (I still love horses, just not in that crazy little girl way) and I was lucky enough to get horseback riding lessons. The horse I had most of my lessons on was named Tuffy. Tuffy is the best horse that ever lived. At 15 hands, he's just a little guy, but not too little for most adults to ride. At the time I was learning to ride, he was quite an old horse already, but still full of zip.

When you'd come to get him out of his stall, he'd make a happy-anticipation rumble in his chest. Oh, boy, attention!

When you brought out the saddle and bridle, he seemed to smile.

He was just about psychic when it came to connection with the rider, which is probably why I never got very good - he could tell what I wanted regardless of how badly I signalled it, as far as I can tell.

Whatever you wanted to do, he was enthusiastic. He was involved in Little Bits a therapeutic riding program for people with disabilities, and for them he was rock-solid, steady, quiet, and patient. A kid could have a siezure on his back and he wouldn't bat an eye. But when he was with an advanced rider and they brought out the jumps, he'd prick his ears and snort and prance and get excited, because he seemed to like that too.

So Tuffy always had a special place in my heart, even after I grew up and couldn't fit horse stuff in with my adult financial responsibilities.

When I learned, a few years ago, that Tuffy's stablemate Pax had died, I cried, and went through a grieving process, because I just assumed that if Pax was gone, Tuffy must be too - Tuffy was much older than Pax.

And then there was this article, and he's alive and well and being taken good care of. It's funny what strong feelings I have for an animal who I doubt ever had any feelings for me, and who I haven't seen in over a decade. But finding out that he's OK, that he's the oldest horse in Alberta, has put me through the whole ringer again. I'm happy, and I'm sad because now I'm going to have to go through it all when he actually does die.

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