Living on a single income is at times quite a trial. Finances must be juggled and activities and purchases weighed for importance and need.
I own and board a horse, which is not an inexpensive thing. When I was still married, we lived on a farm and these costs were just part of everyday life. The horses lived on the farm with us, so the cost of caring for them was more a time issue than anything else. We grew our own hay and had a large pasture for the summer.
I sometimes wonder why I even bother to have Thunder. I toy with the idea of selling him and getting out of horses altogether. It is expensive and takes time to drive out to see him, groom him and make sure he is up to date on shots, having his feet trimmed regularly (the farrier comes every six weeks), gets dental care yearly and is wormed every two months. I can do a lot of this myself, except for trimming his feet (that's the farrier's domain) and the dental work and rabies vaccination, both of which require the services (and fees) of a vet.
I sometimes beat myself up that I don't see him often enough. It is time consuming to work, try to have a social life, care for a dog that I have to walk several times a day and then think about driving the 40 minutes (one way) to see Thunder. On nice days, I often want to go for a bike ride instead.
And then I go out to the barn. This is my other life - a different universe totally separate from the rest of my existence.
I brush him and braid his mane to keep it tidy and free of tangles. I get all the knots out of his tail. I spend time just hanging out with him. He is warm and soft. His eyes are large, liquid brown, with such a soft, kind gaze. He has that rich horse smell that is pungent and fresh and wonderful. He is interested and happy to see me. He comes when I call his name. He pokes his nose into his halter before I even have a chance to put it on him.
Then I ride him. He is so smooth and so athletic. He tries so hard whenever I teach him something new. He doesn't get frustrated and hard to handle.... he just keeps trying to figure out what I am asking.... and then picks it up even faster when I reward him for even getting it just a little bit. He gives me his all - his 110% - his full attention most of the time (he's a horse, okay? he gets distracted sometimes).
He is sweet and funny and cute. And since last year, he has taken to nickering at me whenever I go to get off. I don't know what or why this started, but he is very consistent. It is a very friendly sound, like he's thanking me for a fun ride. All I have to do now is drop my right foot out of the stirrup and he lifts his head and nickers. It is so hilarious!
And today, for whatever reason, he started doing this whenever I would ask him to back up. Then I know, deep in my heart, why I struggle to keep him, to find the dollars to have this special soul in my life. He loves me.... there is no doubt about that. And he enjoys my company. And he is willing to try anything I put to him. He trusts me to keep him safe, which I will always do, to the best of my abilities. It is the least I can do for a being that doesn't speak the same language as me but tries so hard to communicate with me and let me know everything is just fine. A heart that belongs to me, and mine to him.