She's retired now, not groomed, clipped and curried as she once was. We don't ride that much anymore and we don't make those long trips to shows where she knew that she was number one, in my mind and thankfully in the minds of many judges we showed under. She seems happy, content, still shows off that fabulous trot every now and then as she prances across acres of lush green grass as if she wants me to know that she still has it.
I've had offers to sell, to lease, a phone call or two out of the blue from someone I have never met. She's irreplaceable. She's moved three times with us, to three states and she's won year end awards in all three. She's seen others in the barn move on - Madeleine and Dandy - and she's been with Alfie and April a long time now. She's more than family, it goes much deeper than that - she knows my walk, as she nickers to me before I get to the barn. We're like an old married couple living out our twilight years.
She'll soon be 20 an age I still can't fathom as she's still the clumsy 3-year old in my mind that I remember, carrying my husband in the hunt field, trying to understand lead changes and this whole horse show thing. Like a good wine, she improved with age. She loved to show off in the hunter classics and at big indoor shows where my trainer said she always jumped a little higher and better. But we had an understanding all those years. I never asked her for too much and she always gave me 110 percent. We gave up some prestigious awards but that was the right choice for us.