Copper's death left a big hole in my life. My days tended to revolve around his needs and having that gone was hard to deal with it. It was a case of the cliche "You don't know what you're got until it's gone." I sank back into the depression that sits in the back of my mind and I basically lost the motivation to do anything. If it weren't for Royal, I probably wouldn't have left the house.
But I needed to be with Royal. We just set up hay for the winter and the horses are no longer forging in the big pastures, which is apparently like stall rest for Royal. His hind legs stocked up big time, and I had to figure out how to make the swelling go away. The day after Copper's death, I was playing with Royal and getting him to move around, trying to get his legs back to normal. Which helped, but not as much as I'd hoped, so Friday I saddled him up for the first time in a while and rode him out to the big field that the horses had eaten down over the last month. He leaped over the muddy creek and we cantered around the field, the wind in our hair and our cares long behind us. It was very healing. And his legs looked great afterwards.
I wrote last year that Royal came into my life when I was at my lowest and contemplating suicide. He gave me something to focus on beside my badly-wired brain, and helped give my life meaning and purpose. That's still true. He is the cheese to my macaroni, to steal a phrase from Andrea at Eventing-A-Gogo. My days revolved around Copper, but my life revolves around Royal. I still don't have any idea where I'll be this time next year (Wisconsin, send out your supplemental application already!) but wherever I go, Royal's coming with me. Leaving him behind would be like leaving oxygen behind, or something. Completely out of the question.
This last year had been good for the most part. I wish we could have make it to more competitions, but hopefully this next year will be our year. I never expect to win anything, seeing as we're usually going up again professional riders and/or ex-upper level horses, but it's so much fun. And we're really grown as partners. We both have a lot more confidence in ourselves and each other. I've stopped trying to micromanage the whole course and he no longer tries to rocket around like it's a race. We listen to and learn from each other, and have become better for it.
I'm so lucky to have him in my life.
And, for no reason except I love it, a video of an auto-tuned Mr. Rogers.