I loved this story. Loved, loved, loved it. Wish we had a blog or website address.....
I just remembered I had a question about leaning on the bit. I'll try to get to this today. Dressage folks can help here, I think my methods are close.
In the mean time....
*I wish you would get rid of ALL your animals!*
I could not believe those words came out of my father's mouth. My father. Felix. My partner in crime. My shotgun-riding cohort in most of my horsey adventures. My rock. My go-to man. My mother used to get so furious *You are JUST like your father*.......and I would tell her *That's the NICEST thing anyone has said to me today!!!*
*I wish you would get rid of ALL your animals.*
My husband of 35 years is a city kid, born and bred. We live out here, on land I grew up on, in the middle of no where.....and I know he does it for love of me. He refuses to have anything to do with my outside critters because he fell off a horse when he was 10 and broke his wrist. That's ok, I can live with that........as long as he doesn't interfere with my horses and goaties.
He doesn't. He never asks about the vet bills, he never grumbles about the hay in the garage. He has no desire to know how much I have invested in saddles/bits/silver, he says he would probably faint if he knew.
He's right. He would.
He pretty much leaves me go my merry way in anything horsey.
But Felix, the world's coolest father, the 88 year old retired farmer who chops wood by hand *for exercise*, the man who thought he was done with fences and sick animals, with making hay and helping me pick out a tractor.......he's my go-to man. He has made me a *lady-sized* fence pounder. He carefully divides pears into equal sections so no one critter (3 horses, 1 goat in the field) gets more than another.
When I lost my filly in the dead of winter, it was Felix who called in a favor the local gravedigger owed him........and the guy came out in -17F weather with his backhoe to bury Tessa.......and charged me $50. All because I could not bear to let her go to the rendering company.
When I brought home a coming yearling colt, it was Felix who put up a recycled funeral tent in our backyard so Cisco would have shelter while new colt waited for the gelding bus. I have no idea how he did it by himself, I helped him take it down, and it was almost too much for both of us.
Cisco. LOL.....I turned 48, had been out of horses for almost 25 years........but there he was. A 7 year old dapple grey arab stallion. For sale. $900. My all time dream horse. Felix thought I was insane. But he helped me convert the boathouse to a snug little stable........he borrowed a trailer from someone.......and Cisco came home to our backyard.
Cisco quickly became a gelding........and I added 2Sox, a 12 year old arab mare to the mix.
When I told Felix I wanted to breed 2Sox, and I had found a stallion about 30 miles away, he about laughed his head off.
*You had a good stallion, and you gelded him. Now you're going to PAY to breed your mare????*
But guess who hauled 2Sox back and forth the 3 times we tried to get her to settle???
Don't ask me HOW I knew, but I knew I would never have Cisco the years and years I wanted........and I was right. I fed one night, and he was fine, begging treats, just being a noodge......my sweet prince. He was only 18.
The next morning, I found him dead in the corral. Heart attack, stroke, whatever........he was dead. There were no signs of a struggle, looked like he just lay down and went to sleep.
It was early Spring, so Felix dug the hole, and we carefully moved Cisco down, next to Tessa. I managed to hold it all together until the last scoop of dirt was patted into place on the grave.
Then I pretty much came unhinged. Instead of hugging me and telling me it would be alright, those awful words came out of his mouth:
*I wish you would get rid of ALL your animals.*
Certainly not what I wanted to hear, but it did stop the tears long enough for me to ask *Why would you say such a thing?*
His answer was:
*Because I see how much it hurts, every time you lose a critter........and I don't like to see you hurting so bad.*
But he still helps......and he knows I won't give up my animals.
Almost 4 years ago, I had to have our lab, Velvet, put down. I wrapped her in a blanket, and Felix and I dug a hole in the rain, down in my *pet cemetery*.......down by Cisco and Tessa, several cats, and countless ferrets. It's getting pretty crowded down there. A high spot towards the front of our 2 acre lot, covered with white violets in the Spring, it's a peaceful place that, yup, Felix picked it out as the best spot.
2 years ago, I lost my old old Nubian doe, Gabby. Felix and I went down to dig the grave. We both thought we were far enough away from anything else buried down there (I am sadly behind on markers).......when all of a sudden, he raised his tractor forks, and there was a purple blanket caught on one.
*What the hell???*
*Oh, stop, STOP!!! OMG, you dug up Velvet!!!*
*Yup, she's still dead, too!!!*
Gabby went to her final resting place with more laughter than tears.......and closer to Velvet than she probably thought she should be......LOL
Felix. The world's coolest Dad.......who saw nothing wrong with giving me a chainsaw for Christmas last year........so I can keep the branches trimmed off on the corral fencing.......LOL......