"What do you want for your birthday, Ash?" I think after my tenth birthday my parents probably stopped asking because my answer was always the same:
I finally got to the point where I started just asking for a saddle. If I could get a saddle, then surely I'd be one step closer to owning a real live horse, right?
I remember a couple of years ago I saw an old English saddle smack dab in the middle at a Goodwill. I don't have a clue how much they wanted for it but I ran over to my husband and exclaimed that I had to have it. "What are you going to do with a SADDLE?" he asked. "I don't know," I responded. "Hang it up somewhere? Just HAVE it?!"
Needless to say, the poor saddle sat in our dark and dusty basement for another couple of years. Nowhere to display it, no horse to put it on, and back to the Goodwill it went when we sold our house. When we moved from one end of the city to another, I had zero hope that I would be anywhere near horses. We leaped at the chance to own a gorgeous house, newly built, with extra space, and as I glanced around the suburb, I remember thinking, "Nope...no horse for me for a while."
And then upon driving and trying to get more familiar with the area, we went past a house that had a very pretty Bay horse, grazing in the pasture. I had a feeling that they just had the one, and I knew I had to contact them. If nothing else, I wanted to meet people in the area who would allow me to love on their horse! I prayed as I wrote a handwritten letter and I prayed again when I placed it in their mailbox. A couple of weeks later, and after feeling rather defeated, I had a message in my inbox from the owner. She stated that she would like to meet me and that they would *possibly* be open to allowing me to board one day in the future.
At first, I texted cautiously every time I wanted to stop by and see their horse, Addie. Nonchalantly once I said, "Do you want me to check in with you when I'm planning to come? Please be honest!" and she said, "Nope! You don't ever need to check in, just come on by." I have told her often that she is one of the greatest blessings in my life, but seriously, I REALLY hope she knows! I started to feel so at peace and at ease and as many of you know, I visit Addie often. She'll see me coming from the yard and I holler, "Hi, Addie GIrl!!!" She whinnies SOOO loudly and mosies over to the fence. I climb through and I always tell her how much I love her. Addie has a Thyroid disorder and she also Founders easily; most often her gait is slow and some days, she prefers to just stay put--but she always welcomes me with her whinny, and rubs her head down my side. I've been telling her lately that I'm trying to bring her a friend, and her owner and I have had many conversations regarding this dream of mine.
They gave me the green light recently, and have said that mid to late April would be ideal to bring a horse to live there. I want to cry and laugh and sing and dance and cry some more. Guys, this has been my dream since I can remember. I really think it was as young as kindergarten that I began to confess to everyone my love for horses. I dressed up as a jockey in fourth grade (and got in trouble for it because of the 'tight' pants; yeah my 4th-grade teacher hated me). And by my Sophomore year in college, I was hellbent that I was indeed going to leave Michigan, move to Kentucky, and pursue my dream of horses. At eighteen years old, I just did that.
Flash forward and here we are. I've lived here for almost twelve years and you're telling me that this dream is finally becoming a REALITY!?
Well, just like no one explained to me some really important things about childbirth and having a baby (like the fact you have to contract for hours on end AFTER the baby is delivered?! OH my word, Y'all! I was TICKED)--no one explained to me how heart-wrenching this process would be. A couple of weeks ago I met a horse and he is beautiful! He seemed perfectly sweet, well mannered, has been worked with a ton and would be a GREAT horse; but I left feeling reserved, unsure, and questioning if that's just what it feels like when you're searching for a horse. The following week I went to a different farm and met two horses: one 16'3 hand Thoroughbred and a 17' hand Canadian Warmblood. The Thoroughbred was tied near his stall and they shortly after brought out the Warmblood. "Both are so beautiful! This doesn't seem fair?" I said. But AS I said that, my feet, without me having any inclination that they were moving, carried me over to the Thoroughbred. Enter my heart falling head over heels in love with THE sweetest and gentlest giant ever, Bossy.
My husband and I went to dinner that evening after he basically PULLED me from the barn and this horse. The entire time my mind was flooded with thoughts of Bossy, wanting to go back, missing him, wishing so badly I could just bring him HOME. The next day we had friends over and after they left, Asa said, "Go see Bossy. I know you want to, and it's okay." He didn't have to tell me twice; I changed clothes, grabbed a winter hat, and drove an hour to go kiss Bossy. Part of the problem though, at least for me, is that from the getgo, I have stated that my first horse HAS to be a sound horse. And it does. And it was very evident that this sweet, sweet horse has some stiffness, and that like all stiff joints, there has to be an underlying issue. Does it have to be big or drastic? No, not at all. Maybe he feels more comfortable with shoes? Perhaps he has a little bit of arthritis starting? And maybe he IS just simply sore from being worked and getting back into the routine of regular riding. There's absolutely ZERO way for me to know until I get a full pre-purchase vet exam. And waiting for that to happen is literally wrecking my heart.
I've never done this before. I've never owned a horse; I've ridden most of my life, and am very comfortable around horses, regardless of how big and intimidating they may be to others. I literally feel like they are my soul mate, and don't hate me but I never dreamt of being a wife or a mom--I dreamt of being a horse owner. Thank Jesus that He called me to BE a wife and a mom and that I may just get the best of BOTH worlds, but this has to be one of the hardest things I've ever gone through. I can't put into words what I'm feeling--I've been telling Asa and my mom that daily. I find myself just choking up and beginning to cry every time I talk about Bossy because I want this to work out SO badly. All my horse friends reassure me that my horse is out there. "If it's not Bossy, I promise you it's someone else," they say. And I KNOW they are right. I know that ALL horses are special for someone.
A gal on Instagram recently messaged me and said, "God has the perfect horse in mind for you. There'll always be another! They'll be DIFFERENT, but each one has their own special things to teach us." (Thank you, Ali, for this sweet, sweet message that really and truly, brought me peace this morning.)
It's mostly hard because my heart hasn't been through this before. Sure, I've loved horses. Lots of them! And I love Addie! But there has never been the prospect of one being MINE. Guys, I used to pretend a gigantic red tricycle was a horse [his name was Ol' Red] and I tried daily to "walk" it around the front of the house to the windows I KNEW my mom could see me through, so she could SEE how well I could take care of a "horse." Oh. My. Word.
I envision my horse being an oversized teddy bear. One I can train to be a gentle giant to our family. Who I can teach our kids how to ride on. Who I can run to and bury my face into when I have good AND bad days.
Is it Bossy? I don't know. Really I don't. His current owner is so kind and very patient with me. I hope to go and ride him this weekend, and his full vet check will be later next week. I'll have more answers then, and I'm just praying [hard] that I can keep it together better than I have the past couple of days in the meantime. I'm truthfully scared of the answers, regardless of what they're going to be. Pre-purchase exams are expensive, and on top of all the things I'll need to actually BUY said horse and get the things and products I need, it's just a LOT. That is one thing I am not naive about. I'm not a silly little girl living in la la land, dreaming of frolicking in pastures with my future horse one day. Except don't get me wrong, that WILL happen...but I KNOW horses are expensive. More than I can even imagine, necessarily budget for, and there are so many unknowns.
I don't LIKE unknowns.
But I was created by a God who KNOWS me.
And as I often preach to others, I know that I have to release my anxiety, my fear, my questions, my doubt, and hand these rollercoaster emotions over to Him.
I thought house hunting was stressful but by golly, this definitely has me beat!
Lord, please be with me. PLEASE take the reins, and be with my future horse. Protect him, keep him safe from injuries, and show me exactly WHO he is. Be with my heart, as it's more than a wreck. I'm tired, I'm anxious, I don't want to do the wrong thing. I'm scared of failure--more with this than ANYTHING else. And I need YOU to tell me it's going to be okay. That you have my back. That you WILL tell me yes or no. That you will open and close doors. And that I will BE okay when all is said and done. I love you. And only want what you want.