No, I have no dropped off the face of the planet - just been busy. Sorry if anyone was concerned or annoyed....work is long and exhausting (but I'm not complaining!) and I have a hard time fitting in everything I need to get done during the day just after I get off work and preferably before the sun really goes down at 5pm. Making time to actually ride has been hard, although I do still see Milo each night for feeding and chores, and love and cuddle time.
I have found that the nights that I actually make myself ride (and yes, I do have to make myself...I tend to guilt myself into it because I know how important it is for Milo to get out) I am so happy that I did and just kick myself for not making ride time a priority over errands, making dinner, and business-related chores at home. While the laundry pile increases daily and although I promise I will get tasks done around the house on the weekend (then end up being asked to come in the weekend), I have been feeling a little less then motivated to get on a ride.
But, tonight I did make myself get on. I had been wanting to get a "real" ride in since this last weekend when I had the opportunity to ride (got off at noon), but found the arena packed with three other horses trying to take advantage of the sunny Sunday afternoon. So I was limited to a walk with a few strides at the trot. Which ended up being a good route anyway as Milo hadnt been out in a few days, the weather had changed, and the largest horse in the arena, a beautiful Gypsy Vanner named Seamus, was bewildered by all the strange horses and acting silly. At one point, in fact, Milo threw out some little crow hops and acted silly - just the same way he used to when he got excited on the drill team if any of you remember me posting about that. He gets this look where his ears go forward and together, but turned out (kinda looks like bunny ears), his head goes down and he started bouncing - literally its like he just leaps in place a little. Its kinda cute.
Anyway, I wanted to get a more productive ride in so I mounted up and had a really nice ride. I was again reminded how important it is to give my horse this opportunity to not only stretch his legs, but exercise his mind as well. I have found time and again that he truly enjoys work, no matter what any crazy PETA people might say, my horse loves to have a job and loves to be ridden. I was thrilled with the time spent with him as well. The nights I dont make time for cuddles and kisses Milo keeps an annoyed look about him. But I must have a different air about me when I do have the time and effort because he is happy and content.
Before I rode I snuggled with him in the arena next to the mounting block. He dropped his head down and I wrapped my arms and upper body around his head and neck - stroking his big beautiful face and watching his eyes so heavy enjoying the touch. My ride was great and afterwards I patted his neck all the way back down to the barn, so happy with my horse, who walked contently beside me, ears pricked and a happy look about him.
After I cleaned his stall and stripped off his navy cooler, he must have sensed that soon I would toss his winter blanket back on and leave. He stepped away from his hay net and looked out his open stall door (he was tied in the stall on a long-ish rope - enough slack to allow him dinner and access to water). I walked into his stall readying myself to give him his last groom and he easily blocked my path with his head and looked right at me, begging for more time. I happily obliged and snuggled some more with him, breathing in his scent and enjoying his big soft face. Finally I broke our moment and finished up.
I untied him, gave him a few cookies for stretches, and went to leave. He stood by his water, then followed to the closed stall door as I passed the stall. He watched me attempt to leave. I made the mistake of looking back and seeing his begging face. So I stepped in front of the bars of the stall - he reached his nose through them and nosed my hand looking for more treats. When there were no more, he began licking my hands like a happy dog. His eyes went heavy again and I was taken back to the first day I met this awesome horse; he licked my hands for five solid minutes that day until I broke free. That was when I was sold on this horse. I enjoyed every moment this evening of him slobbering all over my hands. This long time licking is not something he does all the time - it most often seems to be when he really craves attention and honestly seems to simply enjoy my company. I need to remember how integral I am in his life instead of just how much he means to me, and when I can make the time for more then just chores.