Monday, April 18, 2011

Getting Over Being Horse Crazy: The Healing of a Broken Heart

Did you ever know someone who was so totally horse crazy you almost couldn't stand it? Well let me tell you that I was that person. I was horse crazy. It started young. Really young. I was about 18 months old and sat on my first pony at a fair or park or something of it's kind and that was it. Smitten. 

From that point forward I dreamt horses day and night. I drew them in church and school and at home. I loved being in the car as a child because I would imagine horses running next to it through fields and leaping gracefully over driveways (OK a bit far fetched). Those daydreams of horses filling my head made every road trip a breeze. Toys: Horses. Books: Horses. Movies: Horses. Magazines: Horses. Pictures on my wall: Horses. The best birthday present I ever received was 10 horse back ridding lessons and a lead line. I worked at the barn cleaning. I cleaned other people's houses. I baby sat. Every extra penny I made went to horses.

Then my Junior year of high school I could start researching for college and I found out you could attend college for HORSES! I poured over schools I could attend and even went and looked at a few. However, my parent's had concerns. Little did they know the bottom was going to fall out of the economy and no job would be secure, but they worried that I couldn't make a living with horses. At the time horses made up a $6 billion dollar a year business in the USA but I had only seen small dingy a part of it. Perhaps if my parent's had seen other sides of the horse industry at the time they would have understood, however they didn't see well groomed dressage horses or clean, clipped hunter jumpers in heated stalls with automatic waterers. Nope. They saw a down in the dumps, crappy, not really successful, Saddle Seat barn. (Sorry Saddle Seat people I still LOVE Saddlebreds!) 

Honestly, if I wasn't so horse crazy I would have noticed too. At least noticed why they were concerned. So my senior year my parent's put the kabosh on college with horses. Gosh, if I had known better I would have still chosen a school with a ridding team but my hopes and dreams were well intentionally crushed. Before I go farther I just have to say this hatch has been long dead and buried with my parents. They are great, amazing people who wanted the best for their kid and what parent doesn't!?! But again, I think they and I would have both done things differently. 

Well talk about a broken heart. It truly messed me up to not be able to pursue my dreams. My life long love. Something I was certain I could be good at and succeed at. The only thing I had ever wanted or imagined myself doing. I skipped from college to college, suffered from depression (there is more to that story: my depression is related to my candida but I just didn't know it at the time), and couldn't finish or follow through on anything. Fast forward to working my first real and decent paying job. I had been able to be around horses through some volunteer hours at a local therapeutic ridding program. Time had passed and I had begun to heal. This time and opportunity really helped sooth those broken pieces. Almost like I was getting a second chance at my dreams. 

Then a friend from the therapy program called me and frantically told me that there was an amazing horse that they had considered for the program but didn't make the cut that was going to slaughter. She begged me to co-own this horse and I agreed sight unseen. Wow, did God really bless me. It could have been a disaster buying a horse I had never seen before but for $200.00 I was able to own my first horse. She was so worth it and more. In the long run, I ended up owning her solo and in the process I met my husband. He also had a horse at the barn that I boarded. Together we worked hard to afford our horses. Things started to turn rotten in the economy (although I don't think anyone knew yet how bad it would get) and we sold his horse and kept mine working around the barn to help pay off some of the board. 

However, we owned a house that needed a lot of work, had a wedding to pay for, and I had lost my job for 6 months. Things started to get tighter and tighter and at the same time we started having trouble with people at the barn. We tried leasing my horse to help off set the costs of keeping her and that was the final straw. The drama that ensued from that point on was so extreme that at one point I was throwing up in my kitchen because of how very stressed I was. It couldn't continue. I had to let my dream go. We couldn't afford the insanity any more than the financial responsibility of owning a horse. We wanted to have a family. We wanted to slim our expenses so that in the not to far future (now!) we could have me be a stay at home mom. 

I made the hard choice and let my beautiful, sweet, wonderful horse go. She is now a pasture mate of two other horses and two goats and is very, very, very, happy. I have to tell you though that it took me a considerable amount of time to not drive by the horse trails, horse barn, routes I took after work to go to the horse barn with out an immense amount of pain and sadness. A wonderful, brand new baby helped sooth that pain and fills my world with joy. The acking for my horse has subsided and I have begun (almost two years after retiring my horse) my final steps of purging the horse craziness. I have cleaned up my horse tack and equipment. Sorted it. Stored what I would keep. Sold what I would sell. And I am closing the book on owning a horse. 

A draft pony however, for Wade and the garden... now that would do nicely! Come on Berea, please?

Dedicated to Summer and Freckles. Thank you "ponies" for getting Gary and I together and for all the beautiful memories we shared. Love you always.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your comments on my post about Auke. Your story reminds me of mine back when I first married my children's father. We couldn't afford horses and family so the horse part had to go. I buried it deep and didn't think about it until many years later. I hope someday, when your kids are older and you are more financially secure, it works out for you too.


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