I think it’s about time for me to try and chase my Big Old Horse-y Dream. I want to move out west and work on a Dude Ranch. I’ve applied to a few Ranches out in Wyoming and should be hearing back this week, and I’ve got my fingers crossed. I can see it so clearly in my mind. Working on a ranch, riding and roping, butt in the saddle every day, and that’s what I want for the next six months.
As I approach the end of my Senior year, a lot of people have been asking me “What do you want to do [long term, career-wise]?”. I know they don’t mean it in a malicious way, but this question stresses me out, because I don’t know yet, and I don’t really know how I’m supposed to know. You know?
What I do know is that I want to work on a Ranch, and that I’ve wanted to work on a Ranch for at least the past four years. So at least for now, I’m going to try and make this one a reality. And if it doesn’t work out, and if I don’t get the job… at least I can say that I tried.
I just stumbled across this image on Tumblr and wanted to reflect on it for a moment. Although I have never personally jumped a horse to this extent, I can identify with the point that it’s making about the relationship riders have with their horses. I’m sure that I’ve said it before, but I believe (with my entire heart) that riding is about three things: Confidence, Communication and Trust; I also believe that the only way to be a successful rider is to shut out the fear.
Fear will always creep up on us at some point or another, but we have to shut it down and shut it out. If we don’t shut out the fear it can be crippling. Fear in the saddle may keep us from being fully confident, in both ourselves and our four-legged friends. Fear in the saddle may keep us from reaching our full potential. And fear in the saddle may keep us from improving as riders, pushing the envelope or trying new techniques (within reason, of course). So we’ve just go to: take a deep breath, shut out the fear, and have a little faith.
It’s hard to believe that a year ago tomorrow, I woke up @ 6am and headed out to the barn to trailer Snow back to Black River. I had taken Snow to Plymouth, MI in September 2012 and he had gotten injured in November 2012. For a couple of months, Snow lost the majority of his mobility and flexibility in his front left leg. I finally made the decision in January to return him to Black River – where he could receive more consistent care than I could provide. Looking back, it’s funny the minute details I remember about that day: It was ten degrees that morning when I left Ann Arbor, eating a granola bar (the only thing I would eat that day). When I got to the barn there was a horse show going on, it was incredibly crowded and the parking lot was already full.
I had been worried that getting Snow into the trailer would be a huge struggle, so I had asked around for some friends to help me out. In the end I’m glad that no one else came out the barn with me that morning, first of all because it was freezing, and second of all because Snow walked right into the trailer without any hitches. It’s almost like he knew that he was going home and that he wanted to leave. For a split second I questioned if he had every really been injured – but then I remembered that yes, yes he had been injured and I had the vet bills to prove it.
Trailering took all day, and I had quite a bit of time to think during my drive to and from Port Huron. At the time that was torturous, all of that unstructured, open time to spend in my own head. But looking back, I think that it was healthy and just what I needed. Back then I was really hard on myself, and felt like I had failed Snow. For a while, I had a hard time dealing with the fact that he got injured on my watch. But now, I’ve gained some time and perspective and have collected my thoughts about wanting to own a horse again some day. Here’s what I’ve come up with:
- I do want to own a horse someday, but that animal will have to be housed on my own land. Because the most frustrating part of the entire situation was the fact that Snow was so far away. So next time, I want to be within walking distance, just in case.
- I do not want to own a horse until I am more financially secure. This one seems obvious and although I had budgeted for more than I thought I would need financially for Snow, I didn’t really consider how I was going to pay for it if he got injured. I learned that any thing can happen, and I’ll have to be prepared for it financially.
- Do I regret it? No, no I don’t. I am so, so, so glad that I “owned” a horse for three months, and I learned a lot. Sure it wasn’t always easy, and at times it was very heavy emotionally, but I wouldn’t take it back. And yes, I would do it again.
Peace. Love. Snow. SLo.