I have a love/hate relationship with the Facebook "memories" feature. Sometimes it induces a "awww, that was 3 years ago?? how fun..." response. Other times the gentle reminders are less flattering - either showing evidence of bad decisions, or irrefutable proof that maybe not that much has changed in __ years..
Regardless, I find it impossible not to click when I get the little notification that I have FB memories to look at.
This morning, while I was enjoying my coffee and a few minutes in bed before the Toddler took over my morning, Facebook reminded me of one of my earliest rides on Prair, exactly four years ago:
I remember this ride. The Boy and I were getting ready to leave on our fabulous honeymoon, but he drove me down to enjoy a few lessons while Prair was still at the barn we bought her from. I already loved her and her personality was so obvious even in those early days.
Canter transitions were a disaster (read: non-existent) and Prair was so heavy on her forehand my hands were literally bleeding at the end of the weekend... but I was excited about what the future held for us.
I would have never guessed that we would end up in the Hunter Ring, or that we would find so much success together and that eventually, even our right lead change would be nearly effortless.
That's what's so compelling about horses to me. The things that seem impossible or down right inconceivable can end up being second nature, and the sort of things that happen by just "thinking" them.
I've yet to find something else in my life where that sort of transformation happens.
Sure, relationships grow, but I've never looked at The Boy and been like "man, remember in 2007 when we could barely get through a date without fighting?? I can't believe we're Spouse-ing at Second Level now!"
It's just not a thing.
Even more progressive aspects of life lack that same sense of accomplishment for me. School or work... which often have an element of constant improvement (in theory). In those areas when I've mastered something or moved on to a new skill it feels more like a foregone conclusion rather than an accomplishment.
Maybe that's because I never had to convince a 1200lb warmblood to go to class with me or study real hard for that test...
Anyway, back to the Facebook memories... what made this one particularly poignant is that our vet managed to squeeze a visit to Prairie in this week, and the prognosis isn't exactly what I was hoping for.
The fact of the matter is that Prairie is showing about a 50% improvement in general lameness, and about a 40% improvement in her flexion on that left hind. At first, my vet was thrilled about this and said she'd like to revisit things in another couple months.
But my frustration came through and I asked what she expected to change from month 10 to month 13...
Which is when I saw her face fall a tad and she said that she forgot it had been that long... she was thinking this was month 6 of stall rest... not 10.
That's when things got more guarded. At this point, another 3 months is unlikely to change things much.
Another year? Maybe. But then again, maybe not.
So, right now I'm busy adjusting my expectations. Prair will likely never have a competitive career again. Will she be sound onto he flat? Maybe. Maybe not. Nothing is guaranteed (is it ever), but I certainly wouldn't expect a return to a full training schedule with her.
So we enter a new phase. We are going to (slowly) reintroduce Prair to some turnout so she can enjoy life a bit more while I evaluate what's going on.
I drilled my vet on her thoughts about breeding her (in terms of her soundness and back) and she was adamant that she wouldn't be worried about that, so that was a glimmer of good news. At least mommy-king is still on the list of potential jobs.
But if I'm honest with myself, there's no way I could manage a baby horse and a baby person and a Windsor in my life right now.
Today the choice feels like it is between keeping Prair as a pasture puff (and knowing she's safe and happy), or considering the idea of re-homing her as a Broodmare maybe to someone who can still hop on and stretch her legs a bit.
Depending on the hour of the day, I waver as to which of those things I am firmly committed to. I wish I could abracadabra myself a cute little farm where it wouldn't be a burden to retire the (ten year old) lady in grandeur and comfort. But, alas I lack that particular resource so the issue becomes more complicated...
I know it will take me a while to feel confident in either choice, but for now - I think. And ponder.
And I giggle a little at that picture of the two of us from Four Years Ago, and all that we've jammed into that time together.