By Shelby Strah


Summer is ending. There, I said it. And quite frankly, it doesn’t feel like I had much of a summer to begin with. Most people can relate – you get to the last few weeks of August and think, where did the time go? We all know that feeling too well. And while many of my friends are booing and complaining about how they didn’t get to do “summer” things, I’m celebrating. Despite being in the same boat with them, I can go into this fall feeling proud. Proud that I took a full-time job in June, proud that I was able to cover so many more financials than I could before, and proud that my life this summer consisted of 3 months of only working and and riding. Get up, go to work, come home, go to the barn, eat dinner, shower, go to bed. That was basically it. But it was really so much more than that. I’ve grown professionally in my day job, and was able to bond and care for my horse in nearly every spare moment I had, creating a better partnership, and a promising future.

I remember being a teenager, and my mom and dad paid for all of my riding aspirations. I helped by taking care of our borders at our small, 5-horse farm, but that doesn’t come anywhere close to what they gave to support me. Now that I’m an adult, or at least making an attempt at “adulting,” I got a somewhat rude awakening to the expenses you encounter when you’re on your own. My parents were big on my sister and I not knowing how much income they made or how much they would spend on things, so my perception on daily costs for, not just my horse but myself as well, was definitely a bit off. That said, taking my first full-time, salaried position was a big step for me and also a big eye-opener. I still struggle, but I’ve made huge leaps. Now, I can proudly say that this summer I was able to cover board on my own, cover farrier bills, vet bills, and horse show fees with little or no help from my parents, and I became a salaried employee for the first time in my life. I didn’t lose my summer, miss out on parties or going to the beach or out with friends. I grew up. And though that’s a never ending process, I’m proud.

So if you’re feeling down about how much you didn’t accomplish this summer, not crossing off items on your bucket list, or not being able to take that weekend trip, think about where you were a year ago, or even this past spring, and I think you’ll find that you really accomplished more than you ever planned. So go into fall with your head held high and be proud.