About a hundred years ago – actually about twenty-five – I was deep into horses. Riding every day, training two-year-olds, fitting the latest show horse for a halter class. I was managing a full household, three young children, a nice big vegetable garden, and taking care of my husband’s elderly aunt who suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease.
I was on top of the world.
And then my world began to crumble.
I scratched and clawed to regain control of my beautiful little world, but in the end I found myself a couple of hundred miles away with my children and a basket of laundry. I registered for classes at the college with plans of becoming a teacher on my mind. I found a part time job which would bend around my hectic schedule of being a single parent and a full time student. And I slowly forgot about my horses.
This doesn’t mean that I didn’t miss them; the gentle eye, warm breath, proud carriage, and willing heart. I dreamed to distraction of the day I would once again throw a saddle on a shining back and ride away.
Then life stepped in with a completely different plan. And I won’t lie – I’ve suffered trying to fight off bitterness and regret, but only for that one thing. My horses. I know plenty of other people who have had huge turnarounds in their lives, but never gave up their horse. I don’t know why I did.
But that’s a different story.
With joy and fresh dreams I finally found another horse. A colt I could break in and train. He was a little bit on the small side. A little under-fed and hardly handled, but I had to have him. And I nearly did a complete back-flip when the auctioneer pointed me out and said ‘Sold!’
I worried: Do I still have the touch? Is my old body going to hold up? Can I still compete?
Some things are meant to be. If you are born to do it, you won’t forget it. I trained by little Arab slowly and with great patience. We had some setbacks in the form of injuries and a touch of lameness. But we kept at it.
A few weeks ago I entered my first show in nearly thirty years. So many times that weekend I nearly loaded up and ran away. What was I thinking, trying to compete against such magnificent show horses that I saw at that arena? How in the world did I think I could come close to the grace and expertise of the young and beautiful riders ambling through the barns.
But I was met with love and encouragement. I warmed in the complements for my beautiful dappled gray horse. And finally took the step. My heart in my throat, I guided my mount into the ring. I concentrated on listening to the announcer’s instructions. I focused like never before to make sure Oberone understood my cues. And I flat could not believe my ears when I heard my name.
We, my horse and I, won a blue ribbon!
It’s never too late to get back in the saddle. You’re not out to pasture just yet.