When I took Tumbleweed to my trainer, I tried to explain what I wanted from her, and it went something like this.
"I am in no hurry. I don't want you to feel any pressure from me to accomplish things. I'm in this relationship for the long haul, and this could be the horse that is with me until the day I die, so we have plenty of time. If he lives to be 30, God willing, I'll be 81! I need him to be brave, and calm, and confident. I am in no rush to fail. I need all his experiences to be positive. I want him to be comfortable going anywhere, and I want him to be able to thrive anywhere. I don't know what the next 30 years will bring, so he will have to be capable of making his way in this world on his own, should something happen."
Sarah assured me that is what she is interested in, too, and she doesn't let clients pressure her to speed it up. I validated that I knew that about her, but I just wanted her to know, if she ever did feel I was pressuring her, I am not. I don't have wild and crazy expectations--only expectations that this experience will be positive and build slowly upon his successes--which is what she does anyway. But I had to say it, so we knew we were on the same page.
So, when she said the other day that if this horse ever sold, he would sell for a lot, she meant we have accomplished the goal. People like Tumbleweed. They ooooh and ahhh over him. Other horses like him. All of this means, he has already earned his way in the world. He can go anywhere and thrive.
It could have been different. He could have been a silly knucklehead who spooks at every little thing on the trail. If he was, she'd have told me. He could have been a horse who was indifferent to people. I've had horses like that. They're golden, but they don't really enjoy people. They do their job and their reward is to be left alone with the herd.
In fact, I had this exact discussion with my friends before I found my "last horse," but was in the process of thinking I might be ready for one:
Which would you choose if you had to? A horse who was in your pocket, but not great on trails, or a horse who was great on trails, but not in your pocket?
Most my friends wanted the horse who was in their pocket, and though I said I preferred one good on the trails, they didn't believe me. They told me I wanted one in my pocket, or I wouldn't have loved Cowboy so much. They were right.
I conceded that I wanted both.
As you know from the last couple of years blogging about him, Tumbleweed is in my pocket. He's in my pocket and up my pocket. He's a kissy, cuddly baby that I always have to remind myself to stop calling, "my baby."
But I didn't know he was also a great trail horse...until now.
This realization makes me extremely happy and excited for my future with him. It also makes me feel a higher level of responsibility to him. He has done his part. Now, I must do mine.
I told Sarah that, oddly, I have not missed him this time. She seemed surprised. It was a weird feeling. Why don't I miss my baby? What's wrong with me? But as the time comes closer to getting him, I'm starting to feel the missing. So, I can only attribute this to knowing, deep in my bones, he was exactly where he needed to be. It's the greatest testament to my trust in Sarah.