Much to the initial surprise of many of my followers, I have quite the rural past, which I have freely shared on this blog. These anecdotes have detailed my time spent working on a farm, throwing knives, and failing to emulate the murderer of Bambi’s mother. Basically, I haven’t always been the somewhat polished, dirt-averse individual most of my readers have come to know and tolerate, and today I’m going to add fuel to that fire by describing my time as a horse owner.
You can see in the above photo that I not only used to rock quite the knock-off Troy Bolton haircut, but I also owned horses with my sister Jenny. We had the horses for close to two years, and they were some of the best times I had growing up. Years later, I still remember the lessons that were learned during this special time in my life, so I thought I’d impart a few of them with you.
Lesson #1: Horses are an immense responsibility | I grew up watching Bonanza and reading Little House on the Prairie (surprise, I was homeschooled), so I approached horse ownership thinking that it would be relatively simple. I mean, I never saw Little Joe wading through three feet of snow to feed horses in the middle of February, and I most definitely never saw Laura Ingalls angrily swatting at flies while shoveling manure on a scorching, August day. As a result, I thought that owning horses would be a breeze, only to have that illusion quickly shattered. The too-early mornings spent bailing hay or feeding horses were quite a shock to my inexperienced self. But over time, they were more than made up for by the feeling that came from admiring a freshly cleaned stall or running my hands through a perfectly combed mane.
Lesson #2: Horses allow your imagination to run wild (literally) | One’s early teenage years can be a time when imaginations begin to be replaced by a more reality-based perspective, but having horses lessened that shift. If Jenny and I wanted to race to the top of a hill, whip around, and solemnly stare across the fields as if we were Lord of the Rings characters (more homeschool evidence) assessing an approaching army, we were completely free to do so. We acted out wild scenarios, played silly games, and laughed so much more than we might have without horses, and those times when growing up came to a standstill are some of my favorite.
Lesson #3: Horses can be the foundation for the best memories | Those years owning horses produced some of my fondest memories. Whether it was my Mom and me taking a nighttime ride through a field of daisies glowing in the pale moonlight or galloping across a long field with Jenny, there was no fear or stress to be found. Instead, I felt only sheer joy from being so in tune with the horse I was riding and the relationships I was strengthening.
While it’s been years since I’ve ridden a horse, the lessons I learned from my time spent owning them will be forever burned on my mind. And while I don’t know if I’ll ride again, I know that if I do, there will be even more lessons to be learned and memories to be made.