This is the post I've had the most trouble writing. This blog, started only a month ago in Coro's birthday month, was a place to extol my love for Coro and gratitude for our continuing adventures together. It has also served as a laying bare of the truth to myself, not all of which I have shared here. Coro is 23 years old. He looks the best he has since he came back to me, he has gained muscle, his coat is smooth (shine is hard won for a grey), his eyes are bright. There are days he would like to run away with me, days he takes joyfully unnecessary bounds over ground poles. And there are the other days. Days he doesn't want to pick up the trot, days he is laboring to breathe, days that he doesn't nose me obnoxiously for treats. Unfortunately, over the past month we have had more of those kind of days than not. Last week we canceled a lesson. He has had some questionable respiratory issues as long as I've had him. While he's had his lungs ultrasounded and his upper airway scoped, no vet has been able to give me a clear diagnosis. He's been called "heavey" but rarely coughs. It's been difficult to pinpoint the triggers - colder days, stress, seasonal allergens? There is also the issue of his heart: Grade 3 mitral valve murmur. We were given (blessedly) the all clear for light pleasure riding after a cardiac ultrasound last year. We had the most incredible summer and fall together, including the strenuous group poker ride in October which was one of the best and most memorable days on horseback I have ever had - I was so proud of my boy. I got to take dressage lessons again, meeting a wonderful trainer with a sense of humor and reverence for these magnificent creatures that works so well with my own. I was told by the vets to pay attention to Coro, that I can't assume he's being lazy if he stops on me. Delicate heart, delicate airways. There is the constant worry of how much cantering and how many hills are too much for him. A few times recently I've wondered if I'm wrong to tack him up, to climb on his back. Now I reach the part where my eyes are filled with tears and I say out loud that my one and only is getting tired, that this renewed passion he's given me might be too big for him. And so while it feels partly like turning away from him, I have been looking, gazing off into the horizon for another from Coro's familiar back. Maybe we are looking in the same direction. It is a view that is complicated, thrilling, and somehow inevitable. Coro came to me when my first pony was slowing down, and just after losing our stout butter-colored mare. Another silhouette canters in the distance, on this unbroken circle around my heart.
(I should note that Coro and Notchee will remain with me no matter what else happens.)