Cay was our best trail riding partner. For several years, we’d ride out with her and her rider every summer evening that I was there. We’d go exploring, park Fetti behind her, and trust that the four of us could handle anything that came our way.
If I’m being totally honest, there are a few different reasons Fetti lost some conditioning last year. Part of it was that my boyfriend moved in with me and my routines shifted around – after five(?) years of doing things one way, now I needed to make it work for another person involved too who was around all the time and not just on occasion. Part of it was that I got bucked off in June and took some time recovering from that. Part of it was that I didn’t 100% trust her breathing. But.. a big part of it was that my favorite trail partner needed to go slower and shorter, and we opted to do those slower and shorter rides with her. We knew something was Not Right last year, even if we didn’t know what it was all along.
I started out with Fetti in 2010, the middling pony, the one who needed to be sandwiched between two experienced Haflingers on the trail. Her sister was barely starting to come back into the equation as a trail pony. We’ve now lost those two worth-their-weight-in-gold experienced Haffies. Confetti is the experienced trail pony. Her sister has been well-started on trail and holds her own with us (and, frankly, with the age difference? is in much better shape). There’s a little Gypsy pony that I’m hoping we’ll be the Experienced Pony on trails for this year. It has come to be more important to me that ‘Fetti fill that role right now than that she be able to finish a LD.. so there we have it. We’ll take this year as Trail Horses and work on our conditioning too.
There’s also the part where my migraines have started running rampant across my life again, lasting days or a week rather than my usual hours and then a break. I’m not impressed. Poor pony has gotten some extra days off when I just can’t muster the energy to get on and work her, too.
We’re a work in progress, both of us. Some days are better than others.