Belinda and I enjoying an afternoon at the farm.

Belinda and I enjoying an afternoon at the farm.

There are some days when I still can’t believe that Belinda is mine.

In February, Belinda, my Hanoverian mare, and I marked our first anniversary together. I’ve owned her for an entire year. It’s shocking, really, because it hasn’t been easy.

Ever since I graduated from university I’ve had to look for economical ways to be around horses. I became pretty resourceful that way and in some cases, used my riding skills as a way to make an additional income. My goal though, was always to make enough one day to have a horse of my own again.

So when the opportunity to purchase Belinda, a middle-aged mare with significant training and show experience, fell into my lap, I knew I had to try to make it work. It took weeks of budgeting to figure it out. My boyfriend at the time thought it was too much. (He’s not in the picture anymore.)

But my parents, who’ve always supported me in my equestrian endeavors, knew how much owning a horse again would be mean to me. I can still remember my dad’s words when I told him I was going to do it: “If not now, when? If it makes you happy, figure it out.

There were always going to be reasons why “now” wasn’t the right time. Next time it could have been, “Well, that’s a down payment on a house,” or “There’s a kid on a way.” I couldn’t let my fear of the future stop me from finding happiness right now.

So Belinda came. For a while, the sudden addition of her expenses were tough. I did less with my friends. I went on less (more like zero) trips. I altered how much I was buying at the grocery store. I reluctantly took in a roommate.

I’ve always been driven by my career and I know I always will. My work is important to me, which makes the time I spend with Belinda all that more significant.  I work a lot. She is my down time.

Enjoying our time together

Enjoying our time together

This first year was definitely a learning experience. I am able to provide the best care for my horse and am so proud to say that I can do so. I beam with pride when others at the farm comment on how good my mare looks and how our training is progressing. Every minor step is a big one to me now that I’m doing it all on my own.

We’ve been to one show. I hope to go to more in the next year but am realistic about my financial situation.

Believe me, I’ve hugged and kissed my parents a million times for allowing me to grow up with ponies and compete all the time. I understand what a tremendous cost my hobby of choice was to them.

But what evolved from that is a lifestyle I can’t life without. I am addicted. Belinda is the greatest joy I have in my life. We don’t need to be competing at second level in rated shows for me to understand and appreciate her worth.

Life is good!