I thought about keeping him forever, taking his shoes off, and letting him be a pasture puff.
I thought about using him to teach me flying changes.
I thought about using him to pony Harley around, and teach him.
I thought about trail riding for a year, putting my show dreams on-hold.
The first one? I wouldn't be able to do it. Seeing him in the pasture, knowing his potential, and his serious dislike of not working, running fenceline while Romeo and Harley dance, I know it would hurt him more than if I kept working him.
The last three? Those all mean either some moderate level of work, or some serious injury risk. Ransom can't hold up to those last three dreams, no matter how hard I try to convince myself of it.
So, with tears, and serious frustration, I've come to the conclusion that Saturday, I'm going to get up, feed him, wrap his legs, load him on the trailer, and return him to BRM where he came from. Hopefully once the pain has wore off watching him walk away into his pasture the last time, I'll be able to return up there and admire his cute personality. Maybe even hop on him bareback for a walk. Keeping him sound isn't possible on my watch, despite all the things I have tried. He's not going to continue to score well in the dressage ring, and it's not fair to his joints and muscles to ask him to jump again. He's ready to retire, to go back to his pasture puff life he had before he found me.
And I, like many other bloggers lately I've been reading, am pissed about it. It flat out, no doubt about it, sucks. I had dreamed of bigger things with him, and they're just not going to happen.
With all this in mind, this afternoon, no matter how bad this headcold is making me feel, tonight.. while the winds are still warm, and the sun is still shining, I'm grabbing my boots, my helmet, my twisted wire bit, and Ransom, and we're going to play in the arena. I have zero goals, zero intentions of "things to accomplish" with him today. It's the first time I'm riding him with NO intentions of "feeling something", or "learning something" or "fixing something". I'm just going to ride, and try to enjoy it as much as possible.