I held on to him anyway and I have looked at this face looking in at me when I clean his stall for the better part of 20 years. Looking back at the rough times and even if I couldn't spend time with him that he was taken good care of, had his herd and was never in the hands of someone that would hurt him or be sold at an auction.
I have waited a long time to be able to be with him and feel the deep connection we once had and finally it isn't a dream or a hope any longer but a reality.
Since I haven't ridden in a long time I struggle with the saddle and the bridle and my riding seat but Cody is patient with me, he just quietly waits for me to get the tack right and tolerates my poor seat. Slowly it is all coming back including the memories, I was young and he was young and in the beginning we learned new things together and we had fun. I am old and he is old but now it is a calmer thing between us.
I know Cody loves me, I can feel it when he is near me and when he nuzzles me when I am letting him out of his stall. I know that when I take him out now to ride or exercise that he feels maybe as I do that it has been a long wait.
I searched for the right saddle for us for awhile and I found one that is light weight compared to our old saddle but just as comfortable. I rode in it tonight and felt deep in the saddle like I used to, the feeling I had forgotten about. When I exercised Cody first I didn't speak to him, he read my body language and knew what I wanted without words. I took time to listen to him in the way he moved and make him feel good.
We rode tonight, we rode a little like it used to be when it was just Cody and me and the quiet of the evening. I was so full of joy and Cody was just mellow and happy to have his hay afterwards. I wanted him to know how happy he had made me, I hugged him and he ate. I walked from the barn to the house, tears in my eyes because I felt I had found something precious that was lost for a long time. There are tears in my eyes now from the love and joy that I feel.
I don't know how many years Cody and I will have left together, I only know that time is precious and we must enjoy every moment together. We are older but there is that glimmer of the past peaking through when I was young and determined and Cody was young and unsure. There is a warm ember of that special bond still glowing and with a little coaxing it will burn again brightly.