It's certainly not what I wanted, and was never part of my "Five-Year Plan." But I know it's the right thing to do. Barring a sudden miracle age-reversal process, it's time for Mimi to retire from competition.
I had already made the decision to retire her from 50s earlier this year. In a way, that was the toughest decision to make. Giving up 50s meant giving up on even bigger dreams...Tevis, 1000 mile medallion, multi-day rides.
But for her sake, I think that retirement, even from 25s, is the right decision. I've always said, albeit jokingly, that I have to be the sensible one of the two of us. She will just goGoGO until she drops, and doesn't quite have the good sense to know when she should slow down and take it easy. So the voice of reason has to step in a say, "No, you're done." That voice of reason would be me.
She is still a phenomenal trail horse and riding companion. I'd like to keep her that way. I know my rides are numbered...I'm getting down to the last stretch for school, and once that is over with and all my certifications are passed, Real Life is going to take over for quite a while as I start working, and hopefully relocate. (105* at the end of September? Relocation can't come fast enough.) I know there's not going to be a lot of time to condition an endurance horse, let alone go to rides, while I'm doing all of that.
But I'll need the escape therapy that riding provides. Rule Number One for court reporters: Have an outlet. We get to hear about the dregs of society, and it'll turn a person bitter and cynical very fast, unless there is some kind of a mental release/escapism available. For me, that's riding. Even if it means just jumping on the pony and riding out for a few miles.
And that's what I want her to still be around for. She's a safe, trustworthy trail horse that can sit around for a few weeks (provided she gets turnout), and not do anything stupid when I climb on her back again. Saving her now means I will hopefully have a lot more casual trail miles left in her for years to come.
Easing the sting of all this is my father's very generous offer to start riding his horse Beamer with greater frequency, and taking him to rides. It works well, really. A lot of Dad's time is being taken up with work, and Beamer has been sitting around, not getting used all that often. He's a working performance horse, and needs a job to do. So he's without a rider half the time, and I'm now without a competition horse. Seems to be a good match...
So we're going to start instituting a "horse-sharing" plan. I'll still ride Mimi, primarily, but on the days Dad isn't available, I'll take Beamer out. And we'll share Beamer for rides. This works particularly well for multi-day 50s, when we can each ride him for at least one day. One-day 50s...well, we might have to flip a coin. ;)
Beamer and I are going to do our first ride together at the end of October, at the AHAA Halloween Ride at McDowell Mountain Park. We're going to do the 25, for several reasons: 1) Beamer has had most of the summer off. Granted, he's an Arab and keeps his conditioning, but there's no sense in pushing it. 2) Need to make sure my saddle really does fit him for distance. It appears to work, at least in the arena, as long as I have the proper saddle pad set-up. But the distance is what will be really telling. 3) Need to make sure Beamer and I get along for at least 25 miles.
Despite the fact we've owned Beamer for almost six years now (!), I've spent very little time on his back. I put about 60 days total on him when we first got him, then handed him off to Dad. I've spent a lot of time working with him on the ground, and more recently, with his hoof care and tending his various injuries acquired over the summer. But I haven't ridden him all that much.
All I can say is, this should be Interesting.
I've got a lot of catch up on, blogging-wise. Friend Kaity came out for a week, and we had a grand time visiting and riding. A lot of pictures from our ride, including a day trip to Payson, and my first ride on Beamer on trail in about four years. Look for those to go up, as well as grand tales for the telling. (Blogging off my laptop at school at the moment, so don't have access to all my pictures.)
Also to come is a new blog. I can't very well talk about Beamer antics on Mimi's blog, so I will have a secondary blog that covers Beamer, and some more general aspects of my life. I'll still keep this one going for reporting Pony antics. This, too, should prove Interesting, as we all know the trouble I sometimes have with just maintaining the one blog.
Once I have that up and going, I will post a link to it here.