I often think of the quote from John Lennon "Life is what happens when you are planning something else". When I retired from teaching 4 years ago, I envisioned my life would consist of time traveling between Minnesota and Arizona, and hauling Bart with me for camping, team sorting, and trail riding in both places. I loved the summers riding with my wonderful Minnesota friends and camping in the parks and making the annual Black Hills ride. I was making new friends in Arizona who also enjoyed riding the trails, and had shared many spectacular rides with Bets and Sweet Pea, and shared an incredible week with them on the Las Damas ride last spring.
And I have always felt so fortunate to have Bart in my life....a beautiful golden palomino gelding with smooth gaits, a sweet personality, and such a joy in so many ways. He has carried me up and down steep trails in the Black Hills, past buffalo, after steers in team sorting, across swift running rivers, and even helped me win a few ribbons in some fun shows. I always thought that we would ride our last ten years together, and I wouldn't let myself think about the day that I would have to put him down.
But then....life often throws a few wrenches in your plans. Last year Mom's Valley Fever prevented me from taking him up to Minnesota in the summer, and health issues and problems with the current economy have added other problems in my riding plans. I found myself having to make one of those very difficult decisions, and it involved finding a new home for my trail buddy and friend, Bart.
I prayed for the right person to come along, and she did when Penny called. She and her husband have a home nearby my home in Arizona, and they summer at their ranch in Montana. He is a roper and she is a barrel racer who wants to slow down and do more trail riding. They came out to meet Bart, and I was impressed right away with their personalities and affection for each other. She rode Bart, and handled him very well. When she told me she wanted him, I felt it was the right fit, and as my tears flowed, Bart reached out an nuzzled her. That was the final indication to me that this was meant to be.
Penny picked Bart up today and he loaded quietly into their trailer between their other two horses. We said our good-byes, and they were off for a trail ride on a sunny but windy day. I wished them a great ride, then sobbed as they pulled out.
A part of my life is over, but I have so many wonderful memories of rides through the pines, prairies and deserts. Happy Trails, my friend. I wish you many wonderful rides in the years to come. And now the next phase of my life will begin....