That's the word for my horse life these days. Simplified.
When Lily got her last float, my friend said that the change in her was remarkable. A year of natural farrier care (no more shoes), changing her diet to just oats and hay, all the work we did to get her teeth back in order, it's given Lily a whole new life.
She is sound. Her coat glows like a brand new penny. I ride her in a halter, we do simple things in the arena, just enough for both of us to keep in touch. She's out with a group of mares, they all get along.
"It took four years, but just look at her," my friend remarked, marveling at this 19 year old horse everyone thinks is 10.
It's funny, I was pouring over a horse magazine the other day and realized the articles that used to grab my attention no longer held any interest. I didn't need to know how to get my horse to respect me, how to stop her from jigging, how to get her sound.
That part of the journey is done. We are now on a long, quiet stretch, where we kick up some sand in the arena, dash through the poles, round the barrels that the other, more serious riders, work out on. We take them at a trot, sometimes a light canter, then run for the gate. Just for kicks.
Stephanie is coming out to ride Lily. She sold Cibolo to a good horse family. She needs to concentrate on college and work, and just wasn't having fun anymore.
It's supposed to be fun - that was something I had to be reminded of.
So now Stephanie will help me keep Lily ridden, she'll get her horse fix, I'll get a fitter mare. It takes a village to ride a horse these busy days.
I ride about once a week. I no longer worry that I can't ride more often. I've got kids, and right now they need me more than my horse. My horse doesn't need me to ride her 4-5 times a week, we aren't working on a goal. Our time together has no real purpose, it's just good for us. For me it gives me that place where I turn off my busy brain and remember to be in the present. For Lily it turns on her brain, she focuses in ways that are simultaneously unnatural and second nature.
I miss trail rides, long weekends with friends, all of that. But I have awakened to the realization that now is not that time. Maybe it will in 5 years. Maybe not.
But for now, it's just simple. Which is much more fun.