When I first met Alfie, I was a beginner in the world of horses. I had only been taking lessons for about 4 months before fate stepped in and Alfie and I became a team. We started our partnership with a weekly lesson followed by a ground work day. Alfie knew I was a beginner when we first met and boy, he certainly took advantage of me. Countless hours I spent working with Alfie in hand, building a relationship that would take several years to fully flourish.
Here I am now, fighting back tears, as my boy has officially entered the retired life. What does this mean? He is no longer able to be ridden.
The saga of the ailment of his left front foot came to a head early last week, when I noticed the small quarter crack he had on his inner heel had grown, it’s now much bigger. With a crack this big, it will take about 1 year to fully heal and grow out. Alfie is 27 years old, with an entire year off from riding it will be too difficult for him to get back into riding shape. Logically, this decision to retire Alfie was a no brainer, but emotionally, my heart is broken.
Even now, as I sit here to write this, tears streaming down my face, I cannot help feeling sad. I spent so many years afraid of riding him. So many adventures we went on together that I couldn’t totally enjoy because of my fears. And now that I’m no longer afraid, our riding time has come to an end.
But, all is not lost. Alfie can still do ground work. We can still go for walks around the property and trails. We can still jog around the arena together jumping over ground poles. Our relationship has gone full circle, back to how it was in the beginning.
I have so much to be grateful for with this amazing horse. And even though I am very sad our riding journey is over, I am looking forward to spending time with him in this next chapter of our life together.
For those of you that are wondering if I will be moving Alfie to a barn that specializes in retired horses the answer is no. Alfie is very happy where we are as am I.
If you are wondering if I am going to be getting another horse to join our family, the answer is yes. But finding another horse that can follow in Alfie’s footsteps is going to be hard. In the meantime, I will continue my riding lessons with Martini and Maestro aka Black Thunder.
Alfie. 27 years young. Entering retired life with his biggest fan – me – cheering him on every step of the way. ❤️🐴