Growing up, all I asked for was a horse.
No one can remember exactly how old I was, but I don’t remember a single year that I didn’t ask for one. I know I was young—probably Pierson young (6 or so?)
Recently I had this overwhelming sense of gratitude when I was leading both of my horses, yes, BOTH, out of their pasture. Many of you follow me on social media and therefore, have followed my journey with each boy. Paddy was gifted to me back in April, and Rocco in September. Paddy and I had a coming to Jesus when I fell off of him on Mother’s Day, and I’m still learning how to ride him fluently, not defensively. (When you get practically a Stage 4 Perineum tear, fear is bound to happen, or so I think anyway? Especially when you never fell off of a horse prior to that…….)
But anyway, back to my feeling of gratitude. I managed to halter both boys in their 13 acre pasture, and without letting the other geldings escape through the gate, I walked right in the middle of them as we made our way to the barn. You BOTH are MINE, I thought.
I actually had a lot of people unfollow me on Instagram when I started to post all my horse ‘stories.’ The bigwig influencers tell you that you shouldn’t stress when people unfollow you, because that means they aren’t ‘your people.’ They aren’t part of ‘your tribe,’ and they aren’t passionate about what you are passionate about. Okay, I get that—really, I do! If you don’t really like horses, and you’re sick of clicking past them in my social media posts, it’s super simple to click unfollow. But what it started to feel like was that a lot of women were having a hard time with the fact that I wasn’t passionate about “only” being Mom. I was no longer posting majority kid stories/photos/etc.
I don’t mean that offensively, or… I hope it doesn’t come across that way. I LOVE being Mom. I love my beautiful, feisty baby girl and my athletic and smart son. But the truth is, I didn’t dream about being their mom. I had no idea growing up, all those Christmases that I asked for a horse, that God actually had it in His plan to gift me what He would: two strong, healthy children AND two horses.
How does that happen?
Anyway, throughout the beginning stage of horse ownership, as my numbers on Instagram began to drop, I wondered, “Aren’t moms allowed to dream? Or to have a burning passion outside of their children?” You all know the answer to that question, I know.
YES. Women are allowed to dream, and women should be empowered to pursue their dreams. Who cares if it happens when they are thirty years old, not six? Women should empower OTHER women, period. Right? Here is where I want to add that while my social media began to change quite a bit, I started to come in contact with some new and very incredible women; ones I probably never would have met if I hadn’t started this horse journey. So many direct messaged me on Instagram after my accident, asking if I was okay, offering advice or just to be a listening ear. And through all of my fears and insecurities and anxieties of whether or not Paddy was really destined to be mine, I felt normal. I felt okay. And I felt so grateful!
It has been eight months. Eight sweet, strenuous, anxiety ridden, exhilarating, overwhelming, and joyous filled months. Paddy has since been moved to my trainer’s farm, where he almost immediately calmed down and went back to his ‘normal self.’ (You don’t know what you don’t know will ALWAYS be my motto. How could we have known how significantly environment affects him as a horse? You live and learn, right?) I am so thankful for the time we had when he was just a mile down the road. A couple days before he was trailered away, he was dealing with an extreme abscess creating almost total lameness. I drove over, parked my car, and sat in his stall right beside him as he munched on his hay. I then proceeded to sob my eyes out, apologizing to him that he was moving and I wouldn’t be so nearby anymore. I told him I felt like a failure and I just didn’t know what the future looked like for us anymore. When I stood up to hug him, he wrapped his entire head and neck around my body.
Rocco was introduced to us in September, a week before my daughter’s birthday, how cute is that? I’ll never forget when my trainer told me about him and she said, “He’s Chestnut too…he looks a lot like Paddy.” I felt so hesitant because of that; that was when I was pretty convinced Paddy would need to leave our family permanently and I wasn’t sure I could love another Thoroughbred Chestnut. Then I met him, looked in his eyes, and I said, “Okay! I think he is supposed to be ours.” I’ve so far had three months of loving Rocco and y’all, he is my healer. Legit, Y’all…he does anything asked of him, including being ridden on 25-degree December days, and he has been nothing but patient with me. We even recently won two blue ribbons together at my first show of over twenty years!!! Because of him, I have regained so much confidence and was able to ride Paddy successfully several times since he’s been at the new farm! Oh, and Paddy and Rocco are obsessed with one another. Within MINUTES of Paddy being delivered and being set out to his new pasture, he and Rocco were inseparable.
Sometimes I still can’t believe it. This is my reality. Two. Two giant Thoroughbred boys.
(Good Lord, guys…my husband is going to kill me.)
I have zero clue what the future holds, as usual, but I wanted you to know about this season of gratitude that I am in. There are unknowns, unpredictable worries that come from owning said two horses, and it’s a lot of work. (Ask said husband who may or may not kill me.)
This year for Christmas though, I don’t need to ask for a horse. I don’t need to ask for a saddle (because yes, I eventually used to ask for a saddle in place of a horse, because I thought that may temporarily fill the void I felt. I even got MYSELF a broken and falling apart English saddle from a Goodwill when I was in my late 20’s!!) I have TWO horses. I have two wonderful, incredibly bright and thriving children. And I have a husband who has chosen me for over ten years, even and especially during this new horsemanship journey. (Thank you for not killing me, Frank. I love you more than you know!)
I’m curious, friends…what are things that you used to dream about when you were a child? Did that dream shift? Did it stay the same? Did it come true?
And what today are you feeling grateful for?