This was first published in June last year (2022), the day after I said goodbye to my pirate horse.
Yesterday I had to make the hardest decision. The decision that every horse owner dreads. The decision that enough is enough, that what might be possible is not in the best interests of those we love. The decision that a dream needs to end.
Yesterday I put my lovely young horse to sleep forever.
This is a young horse I purchased at the end of last year. Buying him was a stretch for us, but after four years of putting my upper-level competition dreams on hold, it was time. My little lockdown purchase, a crazy little Connemara, had served his purpose in reminding me that horses could simply be fun. Now was the time to jump back into my passion and pursue my unrequited dreams in the big arena.
Mitch was everything I wanted. Sharp, sensitive, cheeky. Small, talented, beautiful. He sent me flying more than once, but as we grew to understand each other he felt like coming home. I’ve not felt this connected to my horse for a decade.
Then the unthinkable. A seemingly benign injury leading to a chronic problem that had him in and out of hospital for four months before settling on what seemed like a permanent solution.
For three months it held. And then last week the inconceivable happened. The same problem arose. Only this time it was worse, it moved faster, it did not respond to treatment as well.
Yesterday he was in too much pain. Persisting for the fractional possibility of the realisation of my own ambition was no longer fair or viable.
I made the only decision I could have made. It was still the most difficult one I will ever make.
Today I’m heartbroken. Heartbroken for the loss of this sweet life. Heartbroken for the loss of what might have been. Heartbroken that I won’t get to share his brilliance with the world.
Today I mourn the loss of Mitch. I mourn the loss of the only path that I can see to fulfil my dream.
Today I begin again.
Today I start with nothing.
I know I’ll be OK. I’ve been through so much already. I’ve been here before. I know the way through.
If you’re wondering how you can help heal my broken heart – come with me. The only thing that gives me as much pleasure as the perfect ride on the perfect horse, is helping other galloping housewives realise that no matter where they are right now, they have what it takes to find their own way through to where they want to be.
For now, I’m going to do what I need to do.
Start at the beginning.