Thankful, Day One
Well, Carly "roped" me into this one, and that's fine. I'm supposed to name 3 things I'm thankful for for 7 days. And like her, I feel like doing it. I need some more positivity in my life right now. However, due to how much time I want to dedicate to this first one, today I'm only going to do one. He deserves that.
I think everyone could have guessed this. And it's fitting to put this on here now because the more I've thought about it, the more I've realized that I only ever seem to put problems that I have with Orion on here. It's not something I do all the time, but the other day when I said I didn't have any reason to believe he'd be bad for the vet, or something like that, my friend who was with me said something along the lines of, "Are you kidding? Everything I ever hear of Orion is of him being bad." ....... Wow. That doesn't reflect on her, but it does reflect on me. I write about the bad a lot because I'm looking for advice on how to fix it, but I don't write about the good nearly enough.
I love everything about this horse, including his difficulties, but here's the thing. He came into my life at a time when I wasn't really looking for a horse. Did I want one? Hell yes. Did I think I could pull off owning one? No. I had just started a new job, which was a plus, but other than that, I still felt like my life was a mess. I felt like a had no sense of direction and just couldn't figure out what I wanted to do with my life, something that continued until these last six months or so. Orion was kind of dropped into my life, for cheap, and though he had problems, they weren't something I couldn't handle. I didn't know if I'd ever be able to ride him, but that was fine. I wanted to do groundwork and aromatherapy and massage therapy, things I had read about and always wanted to try, but above all, I wanted my heart horse. That companion horse that would always be there for me that I could bond with and love and have love me back unconditionally. I didn't know at the start if Orion would become that or not, but I hoped. And if I couldn't ride him, it would be okay. I could still do everything else, and I could still try to have that bond.
When I got him, he couldn't really have cared less about any one person specifically. As long as he was cared for, he was content. He seemed a little bitter with the world at times, but with how his legs were probably hurting him, who could blame him? I think we all get that way to an extent when we're hurting. You could tell he appreciated what I did for him, but it took a long time to really truly bond with him and to see that manifest itself in him. I loved the crap out of him and got to know his quirks and what worked and what didn't when working with him. We had a lot of mishaps along the way. It's been a constant learning curve, and there have been lots of challenges.
The first time he came to me in the field, on his own, was a great moment. For at least the first year I think, he would look up at my whistle, see me coming, and go back to grazing. "Cool, you're here. Whatever. You can come to me; I'll just stay here." Then one day, after spending about a week going out there consistently, I grabbed his halter and headed into the pasture and whistled. His head came up from grazing, he whinnied, and trotted over to me, leaving the other horses completely behind. He dropped his head to me and gently sniffed my hair and face, which has since become his normal greeting. He doesn't always have this eager of a reaction, but he normally will at the very least meet me halfway.
The biggest moment I think I've had with him was when my grandma got sick a couple months before she died. She had been like a second mom to me, and it was pretty clear that this might be the illness that finally did her in. The doctors weren't that optimistic about her chances of recovering. After returning from the hospital, I didn't want to go back to my mom's house. I wanted to go to the barn. I just wanted to be alone with my horse with no other people around. I appreciated people trying to make me feel better, but it was all either "I'm so sorry," which didn't make me feel better at all because it was a reminder of what was going on and how bad it could be, or they were overly optimistic, which didn't help either because I knew what they were saying wasn't accurate and wouldn't happen. I just wanted silence and the unconditional love of my horse, and I just hoped he wasn't in an overly ornery mood.
He wasn't. He was standing in the woods beside the creek, and I went out with halter and lead rope but no real intention of bringing him in. He came right to me as I entered the treeline and pushed his nose into the halter as I put it on him. I ended up just draping the rope over his shoulders and not holding onto it. I didn't need it. He stood still and close to me while I put my arms around his neck and cried. He even gave me his version of a horse hug by turning and resting his muzzle against my back, so that I was folded between his face and his neck, and he stayed like that until I calmed down. I sat down on a nearby log, and he walked over and just stood there with me. Like Carly's moment with Skip, he didn't know what was wrong, but he knew that I needed him.
There have been many other moments like this since. Anytime I need to just get away from life (or embrace it by going somewhere away from people to at least figure stuff out), I try to go to him. Deaths, breakups, disappointments...I go to Orion. Yes, he's a horse, so he doesn't get why I feel the way I do, but he gets that I'm upset and is concerned about me.
We have our ups and downs, but I really do have that bond that I always wanted with a horse with him. He is my heart horse, and I don't know what I would ever do without him. He's been the one constant thing in my life that loves me unconditionally and doesn't care what I do or how many times I fail. It's what makes all of this new information so hard, because I know how it will eventually end. But that doesn't make me any less thankful for the time I've had with him or the time that remains. I will always be thankful for the opportunity I had to buy him and everything that I have learned and experienced since, but most of all for this bond and this horse.