Grief does weird things to your head. It makes you feel fragile, as if any little thing might make you react in a way that might not be appropriate to the situation.
That first week after Kasane died, I visited with Breezy a lot. Mostly just stood out in her field with her or groomed her. Just to be near my girl but not putting myself into a situation where I might not be in the best state to handle something.
I’m a little better now. A week after she died, I posted her death notice on Facebook. It kept the grieving and sympathetic messages contained. It was hard to write and hard to respond to, but I replied to each message. So many people knew her and cared for her. Makes me smile.
I gradually did get back on Breezy. After it had been a week, I felt less fragile. Breezy and I had a good walk in the ring. It was good to be back in the saddle again. She got silly a few times, but we worked through it. I felt a lot better after the ride.
I’m finding that I get nervous before riding. After the ride, I’m okay but before I put my foot in the stirrup I feel all jittery. So we walk around the ring: her girth is gradually tightened and I let go of my nervousness. For the most part, that works and my tension leaves as we ride.
The Sunday a week after Kasane died, my dressage instructor rode Breezy. I had her tacked up in time for the ride. My instructor had me get on for the last 5-10 minutes and had me do some trot work. It as a very good thing because it was the first time I had trotted since Kasane had died. My instructor is like my safety blanket. I usually feel like I can tackle anything when she’s in the ring with me. It was so good to have her just give that extra confidence boost.
That’s the strange thing about riding through grief. It gives me an extra set of jitters and also shakes my confidence because I have not felt as even-tempered as I should be. But at the end of every ride, I felt awesome.
Breezy has been jumpy at the beginning of our rides too. When I chill out, she does too. She’s also mellow and happy at the end of our rides too.
It’s hard to make this transition to letting one horse go and let the relationship with the other one become what it is meant to be. It’s a learning experience about listening to myself, to Breezy, and to how we are together.
This past Sunday, we had a lovely ride. It felt normal. We did our regular workout like we would have before Kasane passed. And I felt solid and so happy to be riding. We went for an in-hand trail walk off the farm. We dealt with mail boxes, large barking dogs, charging miniature ponies, cars on the road, ponds, deep water puddles (without jumping them), upside down row boats, and more. Even she she got up, she came back to me. I was so proud of her for dealing with all of these scary things.
I think we’re going to be okay.