Ever since I made the decision to stop stressing about my horse and enjoy him, I’ve felt a sizable reduction in stress. I went to the barn the other day and spent a few minutes scratching Baron’s “sweet spot,” a spot on his upper lip where he loves to be scratched. If I get it just right, he throws his head in the air and pulls up his lip. I can see his Jockey Club tattoo and I’m reminded that before he was my pet pony he was a professional athlete at the racetrack. He is most certainly enjoying his new life!
I’ve carried over the theme of stress reduction to my “other” life as well, meaning the life where I’m a wife and a working mother of a 2 year old and a 6 month old. This time can be the busiest, most non-stop, stressful period of my life or I can choose to slow down and enjoy it. Building a family has been a wonderful surprise for me. I was never a “kid person,” so the enjoyment my kids bring has shocked me. It’s a heck of a lot more fun than I ever imagined, especially when I get to share my love of horses with my kids. I love that my two year old first said the word “pretty” while watching Baron graze in the pasture. As a “horse person,” that sure does warm my heart!
I spent some time this week thinking about what kind of family I want to create. What kind of wife and mother do I want to be? What sort of things do I want my kids to look back and remember about being little? First and foremost I don’t want my kids to be junk-food addicted video game zombies. Kids need to play outside and even though I live right smack in the middle of suburbia, I’m lucky enough to be 2 minutes away from the barn. The barn has dirt, mud puddles, field mice, trails through the woods, scrap wood for fort building, and of course, horses. It’s the exact sort of environment that every kid needs and too many city kids miss out on. My kids are lucky to have a place they can go get dirty!
Some day I would like my kids to have a pony. I want them both to take English riding lessons, but tooling around bareback on an overweight, obstinate Shetland is a lesson in itself. Lessons are great, but some of my best childhood memories involve riding a semi-broke diva mare bareback until she decided she was done for the day and bucked me off. Just getting out there and RIDING was the best feeling, even without the fancy trappings, plush barns and high-priced trainers. I want to give my kids the best of both worlds- the lessons and the days at the barn where we ride for the sheer pleasure of sitting on a horse.
I firmly believe that life with horses is the best life and I can’t wait to share it with my kids!