For as long as I can remember, I have dreamt of having horses. Having one was all I ever asked for and with our suburban back yard (that I had to help mow), I simply could not understand why owning a horse was not in the cards for me as a kid. I think there are a lot of kids who can relate here. I mean, really, who doesn't want to hop on their horse and ride off into the sunset? That mental image is forever etched into my brain. Riding at a full gallop, holding onto my horse's mane, feeling totally free. It still sneaks up on me from time to time.
My parents did their best to grant my wishes, which mostly consisted of horse camps in the summer time. It didn't feed the hunger though. So when I was old enough and could afford it, I bought my first horse. He was a cute little thing and we spent most of our time together outside of my working and going to school. We spent countless hours working together, learning new tricks. I moved him home from college with me and had him until I got married, had my first child and we moved across the country. At that point, it wasn't in the cards to keep him.
I spent about 6 months of my adult life without a horse and wouldn't you know it, I was terribly unhappy. I had lost my hobby, my source of soul healing, my ME time. I needed something that D and I could put our energy into outside of the house, so, I found my new project and soon, he was delivered to the local stable where he could be boarded for me. He is known as My Little Revelation, Rev for short. I'm sure we will explore his impact on my life in future blog posts, don't worry!
By the time Rev came into our lives, my oldest was just 2 years old and I decided they'd grow up together since he was just a few months younger than she was. He was very easy to train myself- smart, driven, kind. He has been perfect in every way and D has had the ability to grow her entire memorable life with him. They still have their disagreements at times, but he has been really good for her too. She's been mucking stalls since she gave up her pacifier. She met her human childhood bestie at the barn too and all of us quickly became friends. The girls played in the sand and grass while us moms did the hard chores and then gave countless pony rides.
Many horses have come into our lives and hearts, allowing for some amazing experiences and the really hard ones like what losing those 4-legged friends feels like. They've watched me wrestle with making the hardest decisions I've ever had to make for the best interest of the horse (and dogs, etc) regardless of how much my heart breaks.
Sarge came into our lives "free with purchase" style when I bought our horse trailer. He was a senior with heaves (the horse version of COPD), so I knew his time was limited. We gave him the best last 4 years of life that we could manage. That dreaded day came too quickly and quite literally broke our hearts.
I acquired a second rescue, Dusty, and very soon after, a third named Sedona. 3 horses meant that we could go for trail rides together off property and spend a lot more time with our friends and spend time we did! Not long after we got Sedona, I became pregnant with my youngest. I tell both girls that they've been riding horses since before they were born and truly, it is a skill that comes quite easily to them both.
About 7 years ago, I bought my first gypsy horse. I saved every penny I could to get her. Every. Single. One. I mean, who doesn't love a real life My Little Pony to brush and braid and ride? She was worth every bit of sacrifice to buy too. Maggie has become the real best friend of both of my girls. When D was finally old enough to show at the Gypsy shows, that's all she asked to do and who would have guessed that by her 2nd show, she would be walking away with 1st and 2nd place ribbons and even taking the National Champion in youth obstacles with our little Maggie-moo! Did my dreams come true that year? If only I could put my entire soul's feelings into words. Not only was my oldest able to perform in a sport I could only have dreamed of as a kid, but we got to show together, learning and growing side by side. My youngest, A, has grown up going to horse shows, watching mommy ride and show and eventually watching her sister show and win! Now, finally old enough to show, she too has begun to ask to go into the show circuit with Maggie. My heart overflows!
While Maggie is a great starter horse to learn with, we have been so fortunate to be able to have many equine teachers, including a stallion imported from Ireland and have successfully bred with a planned breeding to none other than the amazing SD Hercules, resulting in our dashing gelding Stormy. He is just over 2 years old and ready to start learning the ropes of a show life. He will be a tremendous show pony for the girls. We also have our handsome Maggie/Gatsby baby, aptly named Rain. At just 1 year old, (and a bit spoiled), he will be fantastic in halter classes for the time being- quite a challenge for the ever talented Miss D.
Coronavirus has really put a damper on plans this year related to shows, so wish us lots of luck being able to get to shows in the near future. Until then, the girls have plenty of time to practice and be the best that they can be. Still, it begs the question- is this their dream or mine passed on? I think the answer is both. They have developed a strong appreciation for rules, hard work and responsibility. The girls understand there are specific reasons we do things the way we do, how to manage their expectations and speak up for themselves. Being able to take critiques, control emotional reactions, and strive for a 2-way communication pattern with their horses.
Best of all, we all have the benefit of sharing these gorgeous beasties with everyone we know! (We will keep their faces private unless permission to share photos is granted.) It is beyond gratifying to see the dreams I had as a child grow into a life for mine I only imagined. I thank God every day for this blessing. Still, at the end of it all, if they decide to pursue other loves than horses, I'll cheer them on with their dreams every step of the way!