The coming of spring is strongly associated with new life and fresh beginnings. Animals become more active, looking for mates and building nests. The ancient Greeks believed that spring began when Persephone returned to her mother Demeter from her exile in the underworld, Hindus look to Sita, another goddess associated with agriculture and fertility, and ancient Celts celebrated a spring festival of Ostara, which we now sometimes call Easter.
For me and for Bars, this spring is an especially fresh start. This is our first spring in the new barn, and for a few months there this is a spring I wasn’t sure would happen. Bars has survived perhaps the worst winter of his life; he’s had a choke, a colic, an infected nose, an injured neck, and been cooped up due to weather. California has had a winter of record rainfall, so everything now is green and fresh, and the creeks are flowing. This is all lovely to see, but the last two or three months have been so wet it was not possible for him to get much real exercise.
A few weeks ago I was able to start Bars back to work under saddle. Because of his age, his creaky joints, and a lack of exercise, we had to start very carefully—just 20 minutes at first, walking on level surfaces with decent footing. He stumbled a lot. But, gradually, we worked our way up to 25 minutes, then 30, and today we had our longest trail ride in months—a whole 40 minutes, with a little bit of trotting and cantering into the bargain! He was a little tentative, but he’s stumbling far less, handling more uneven footing like a champ, and even…perish the thought..crossing water without a fuss! Well, without much of a fuss. He’s still stumbling, but a little bit less every ride, and he’s really enjoying the sunshine, the fresh air, and yes….diving his head for grass any chance he gets. Typical horse…..
In a few weeks he will have his 31st birthday, which in some ways is a bigger deal than his 30th. Two months ago we weren’t sure we would make it to spring. But now, spring is here, health is returning, and things are looking brighter by the day. We truly have cause to celebrate.