I have a confession ...
Updated: Feb 19, 2020
Okay yall, I have a confession to make!! I didn't want my daughter to grow up riding horses. Now, don't go throwing sticks and stones, and calling me a hypocrite. Finish reading and it will all make since.
As I am sure you are all aware by now, I own a horse farm. Not a 100 acre horse farm with a billion horses, mine is on the smaller side but we stay busy non the less. All my daughter has known growing up is horses, how to feed them, how to ride them, and how to love them. My absolute biggest fear, has been for her to grow up resenting the horses and by default resenting me for having them. I have never wanted to force horses upon her like the reality of taxes gets forced upon me every spring. So as she was growing up, I dressed her up in pink dresses, put HUGE bows in her hair, and took to her shopping as often as my check book could afford. I enrolled her in gymnastics, ballet, and dance! As she twirled in her tutu I gasped in awe at how beautiful she looked. When she would cartwheel off the balance beam I jumped up and applauded!! However no matter how many adventurous club activities I put her in, the sparkle she got in her eyes when we would get home and see the horses had no comparison. So as reality began to slowly sink in, I cautiously allowed that love for horses start to blossom.
Now lets quickly address my other emotional draw back, I knew first hand how badly horses can damage a person. I am not just talking about the physical pain when a rider and horse have a parting of ways. I am talking about the emotional damage when we have to make the decision to put a horse down. As a parent it is our job to protect our children as best we can, and I am here to tell you, this part of the horse world is the reason I was so apprehensive about her falling in love with horses in the first place. I will never forget the darkest feeling of loss when my first horse had to be put to sleep, my heart broke into a million pieces and I had the deepest feeling of regret. Regret that I couldn't save her, regret that I didn't hug her one more time, regret that I didn't think I could love another. Ugh, I did not want my daughter to feel or go through any of that.
As recently as a few weeks ago, I had a moment of awakening. I realized that no matter how often I attempted to push her in a different direction, the magnetic beauty of the horses was always going to pull her back. The thrill of jumping a horse in an arena, and hearing the sound of the hoof beats momentarily stop while airborne, was always going to bring her back to the arena. Feeling the wind in her hair as she gallops bareback across the open fields would always be a sensation that would keep her coming back for more. I can't separate her love for the horses, any more than I can eliminate it out of my own blood.
So now I find myself along for the ride, in so many ways. I find myself white knuckling the fence with some of the parents of the kids that I teach, holding my breath as she shows. Smiling for her when she succeeds, and consoling her when she comes up short. In the same way that I have had to learn to ride the emotional and physical roller coaster of the horse industry, I will have to be here to help her navigate it as well with the promise that I will always be here when she stumbles and falls.