It’s been a pretty crazy year so far. I got married. I went on a globetrotting honeymoon with my new husband. I completed one of my biggest projects to-date in my career. I also lost my heart horse.

So many highs and lows.

I miss my mare terribly. I think of her always, every day. For a while I tried not to. I hid the pictures I had of her and banned myself from rewatching our old videos on YouTube. I scrolled really fast past her face when having to revisit older posts on my blog and social media streams. I just couldn’t look at her and be grateful yet.

So when my barn owner called me the week of my wedding and told me about a horse she had for sale, I tried to push that away too. It’s too soon, I kept telling myself. I had been back to the barn a handful of times since she passed. I cried every time with my people there. I’d sat on a few borrowed horses. I cried through my rides in the saddle. Nothing, it seemed, was making the grief easier to handle.

So I got married. I went on my honeymoon. I was happy for the distraction of family and friends and new beginnings. Then the excitement died down and I struggled to find the pace in life I was used to. There was a gaping hole where my mare had been. I didn’t know what to do with all the free time I had now that I didn’t have a horse to care for.

Somehow I still ended up at the barn.

And that’s when I met him. He was gangly but tall and sturdy. He had thicker legs than I’d ever seen on a thoroughbred before. He had no manners and he cribbed. He knew nothing and looked like a mangy fool. My barn owner told me this was Mikey, the horse she mentioned before, a  a 17.1 hand American Thoroughbred gelding by Street Boss.

He was so wildly opposite of my mare. He’s goofy and affectionate. Oddly enough, he’s very mellow under saddle. I bought him to be my next partner.

I find myself crying often when I ride him. Sometimes I feel guilty for enjoying the ride on him and just his company in general. But I like that he gives me something productive and exciting to think about.

It’s easier to look at the photos and watch the videos I have of my mare and I now and remember the wonderful memories we shared together. Buying a horse to fill the void of the old one isn’t the answer. I know that. But Mikey is helping me move on. He’s reminding me why I love these animals as much as I do. And he’s encouraging me dream again.