The barn teaches us so much more than horse care and how to ride. The lessons learned inside those walls last a lifetime. They turn us into empathetic, kinder souls. We learn that without hard work, you don’t stand a chance in this world. We learn that hard work is not enough, and sometimes you have to wait and fight for your chance to shine. We learn to take our lumps and victories as they come, because half the battle is having your stars align.

The barn teaches us how to love. From our furry soulmate who gives us the skills on how to love unconditionally without ever saying a word. We learn how to forgive and let go, because tomorrow is a new day. Our horses teach us with every spook any bad habit that everything we do has consequences.

Inside those walls we learn that family means more than blood. Your family is the ones you laugh and cry with, who will be there to help you up when you fall. You learn to have another being rely on you for their every need. To communicate something that goes against their instincts and build a relationship with so much trust that what you ask trumps instinct.

Some horses enter into our life for their lifetime. Some leave their mark after a single day. You learn the importance of how quickly time flies by, and the value of taking it slow. The barn builds character. Days spent picking stones out of the arena only to have the rain cause you to start over. The sweet victory of a job well done, even if no one was there to witness it.

It’s at the barn where I’ve learned the hardest lessons. What it’s like to stay awake all night, praying for poop. What it means to lose your entire world in an instant, and find the strength to put one foot in front of the other. It’s where you discover who you really are. It’s where I’ve had the best and worst moments of my life. The barn is the place where I feel whole, it is where my soul calls home.

The barn never stops teaching you. The world keeps on turning, and every equestrian knows how quickly your world can turn upside down. Some of the lessons at the barn are easy. Others are more difficult than we ever could have prepared for. All of these lessons leave us a better person than we were before we walked through those doors.