Well, this is it.
My longest drought since I got into the game.
People ask me how I manage.
"I stay busy," I reply.
Christmas Day marked 365 days since I was on the back of a horse, and I can hardly believe it. Not in a where did the time go? kind of faux-nostalgic way, because years are long, and the only reason why people think they are short is because they don't want to admit that they put off their Christmas shopping until the last week of December again (you know who you are).
Years are long.
Especially when you haven't been on a horse.
But I stay busy, as I say. I don't want to go so far as to say that 2011 was my best year ever because I didn't get on a horse, but then again, my knees, ankles, lower back, and ring fingers are all simply thrilled with this turn of events, so there is that. My middle-section was less than enthusiastic about the sudden lack of exercise, sparking my decision to go on a diet which I never would have considered were I still flinging manure and posting trot for miles on end, and since said diet has left me healthier than I have ever been in my life ever, there is that, as well.
Now, this isn't too say that I don't think about horses. I think about horses roughly 75% of the time. I just think about them differently. More abstractly.
Instead of puzzling over Gelding A's mysterious lameness and Mare B's chronic rain rot from hell and Colt C's addiction to biting, I think about horses in the plural. Hundreds of thousands of horses. I worry over them. I research them. I write about them. I obsess over the horses of the world much the same way I used to obsess over the horses in my field.
I'll always be a horsewoman. You can't take that out of a person. But we all have different ways of contributing to the horse world. For me, right now, it's to spend my days at a desk, puzzling out how to turn retired racehorses into gold medalist Olympians. I spend so much time on Retired Racehorse Blog, I have to figure out a blogging schedule that will stop it from interfering with my fiction writing. In fact, when I have weeks like last week (ten thousand page views as the whole Thoroughbred world came to back up my post "Show Jumping's Wake Up Call") it's hard to think how else I could be of use to horses.
And I have to admit, I like the hours I'm keeping much better now. I never was a morning person. As Robert B. Parker once wrote, "Racehorses get up early as hell." Like, right around my preferred bed-time.
This year's goal, though: get on a horse. A couple of times. Maybe once a month. Dressage lessons in Prospect Park would suit me just fine. It's going to take a few more book sales to make that happen, though. So I guess I better get back to my novel.