If you asked Lexi who I was, she'd quickly say, "Momma!" When she sees me, she sees her mom, her comforter, the one who knows if she wants the crusts on or off and can tell her in a nanosecond the obscure place she left her baby so she can sleep soundly at night.
When I think of who I am, the first thought is Mother. But, I'm also a business woman, a daughter, a wife, a friend, an athlete and a horsewoman. Equine enthusiast. Competitor. Horse trainer. Lover of all things horse related.When I'm working in the barn or riding or giving a lesson, I'm in my element. I'm home. It's like putting on your most comfortable pair of sweats. It just feels right.
|Me and Moonie|
|That's me on Astarti, second from the right.|
|The love of my horsey life: Kariston. Here we are on a 25 miler.|
Most of my friends were the girls who took lessons at the same facility. We fought like sisters but were nearly inseparable. Their parents all had a hand in raising me and carting me and my horse around to the local shows and to lessons.
While I was in college, I let horses take a backseat to my social life and education. That lasted about a year. During one of my summer breaks, I rode for a local trainer. When I got back to school, I was miserable. The next summer, I got a job wrangling and outfitting. Those were some of the best days of my life. The smell of the forest, horses, long days, lots of sweat and lots more laughter.
|Here I am in the White River National Forest on Dally. I'm leading 6 mules. We were packing an elk and camp I helped to break that same day.|
After my days outfitting, I worked full time for a cutting trainer. I worked 12 and 14 hour days, 6 days a week. I stunk like horse sweat and manure. I had no social life. I had no money. But, I was so happy. I was doing what I loved and getting paid! I worked for an incredible man with a great family. Working for John paved the way for me to start my own successful training business.
|One of my client horses, Legend.|
|Me and Lexi on Holly|
I had to make a really tough choice. Do I put riding on the back burner and focus on my kids or do I try and make it all work? Can I make it all work? At what cost? While the answer wasn't necessarily the one I wanted, it was crystal clear what I needed to make my priority. I haven't ridden in two years. Man, do I miss it. Recently, I had the chance to be in the barn, just feeding and raking and I got a little sad. I miss the familiarity with which I move from one task to the next. How I can, almost without a conscious thought, halter, groom, saddle and bridle a horse in minutes. I miss the smell of shavings and the barn and even the horse crap. Yeah. Us horse people are so depraved, we like the smell of horse crap. (oh come on, horse people, you know it's true).
But, there's always another horse. There's no other Lexi or Addie or Emily on this planet. No amount of saddle time could make up for me missing out on watching them grow. Teaching someone to keep their heels down pales in comparison to importance of teaching my kids how to love, share, and serve. When they are grown and gone, I'll have all the time in the world to be in the barn. For now, I'm certain I have given up something good for something so much better.