Since Carter came into my life a little more than two years ago he has influenced some of the most significant changes in me I’ve ever experienced. Even at 46 years old, horses can change someone so completely that you might not recognize yourself before it happened. I thought I’d share just a few…
Life Balance – I was one of those you are “work, work, work defines you” people. I lived for my job. My job consumed me. My husband and I were unable to have children so I dove head-on into my career. (Granted, my career also allowed me to be able to see the world and learned a ton so there were priceless benefits that I gained, too, don’t get me wrong.)
Once Carter came into my life, actually once horses came into my life a few months before Carter did; I found balance. I found what it was like to have an interest that had nothing to do with marketing, with work. I volunteered. I gave up a bit more of my defined self to redefine this new me. I made time for horses, for Carter, for learning something new, for new friends. Who, by the way, are the most REAL people I have ever met. Now, I think I’m actually still a little on the pendulum of change and may have shifted the balance a little off to one side since I took a voluntary severance from my 26-year career this past November, but I’ll find my way back to center – although I actually like this whole life thing… it’s pretty nice after the rat race that was my life for a quarter of a century!
Courage – I’ve regained a bit of my childhood fearlessness, or at least the ability to say “I can” or “I will try” instead of “I can’t”. That first step onto the mounting block, that first step forward on a horse opened a brand new world of possibility. Yes, it was scary. Yes, I thought I might get hurt. Yes, I have, BUT, I am now able to open myself up to new things more than I have been in a very, VERY, long time. As an adult I feared change. I feared failing. With Carter, with riding, I leave all that baggage outside when I walk through the barn door. I have to and I owe it to my equine partner to give them 100% of my attention, my strength, my leadership because we are the team.
Stamina – I thought I’d forgotten how to fall as an adult in my mid-40s. Let me assure you that I didn’t and I’ve had ample opportunity to realize that (sometimes painful fact) in my near three years riding. Yes, it hurts. Not gonna lie. But, getting back up and back in the saddle is what it’s all about. I’ve learned to push through pain, again. (aside: I was a junior tennis player, cheerleader, and all-around athlete in my younger years, so I’d been here before). I’ve learned that bruises take time to heal, but I can push past most of the pain for the love of the sport.
Inspiration – my horse is a great inspiration for me. At nearly six now, I watch him learn in amazement. He inspires me to be the best rider I can be. He inspires me to work out so that I have a chance of regaining my physical strength needed to be real in this sport. He inspires me to give more to him than I’ve ever given to another living thing. The bond between a girl and her horse (maybe a boy, too… I’m not one so I can’t comment) is truly beautiful. I’ve never felt a connection like we have. Don’t get me wrong, I have great relationships with my family, my husband, my friends, but this is different. This is to the core. I’ve fallen in absolute love with his sounds, his smell, and his hugs.
Joy – I’ll end this piece with an indescribable feeling. Joy. Passion for the sport. New-found commitment to something that makes me happier than I’ve been, maybe ever. Because our relationship is still new – some of you have had your horses for a lot longer and hopefully can relate – we’re still bonding. He doesn’t always nicker when he sees me; but he acknowledges that it’s me when I walk toward him. He hugs me now; fully wraps his neck around me and hugs back. He snuffleupiguses me for treats…that furry nose burrows into my hands, to my pockets as though he can make himself small enough to fit into them. He gives excellent kisses. Quite simply. He gives me joy.
I’m sharing a bit of Carter joy with you, here.