A Bareback Life

This is going to be a bit of a shorter post that starts with a video:

I’ve been around horses my entire life. When I was very little, around 5 or 6, my family would go out to a farm owned by some friends of ours. They had a daughter 10 years older than me who rode horses, and I began to eagerly press, my mother mostly, for horseback riding lessons.

Many people say that little girls experience a phase of horses. Many people told me I’d eventually grow out of it. I never have and I never will. I rode horses from about the time I began asking until I was 16 years old. I was going through a rough patch family-wise, and my dad and stepmom told me it was too expensive a “hobby” to continue. I would have sacrificed a great deal to keep riding, but when they finally told me that if I wanted to continue, the expense was all on me, it was a death sentence to my riding career.

I had Olympic dreams. I know that sounds a little goofy, the Olympics is a very lofty place to be, but I had talent. I wasn’t the best ever, but the raw materials were there and I loved it more than anything I’ve ever committed time to. Nothing feels better than the sore you feel the day after you’ve been on horseback. I still cherish the smell of a farm; of horses, hay and manure. If you shy away from that sort of thing, I understand, but it draws me in.

Me at a dressage show back in 2007.

Me at a dressage show back in 2007.

My more “realistic” dreams now include maybe covering the equestrian Olympic events from behind a notebook and a camera. The knowledge certainly wouldn’t be wasted that way. But I don’t think I’ll ever really give up dreams of committing to riding again.

About a year and a half ago, I started riding again (a little) around Ashland. I helped out on the farm a bit and assisted one morning with a show. Then I ran out of  solid time to commit to it…again. I’ve been mulling over a summer job here in Columbia since my lease won’t be up until the end of July, and I’ve tossed around the idea of helping out on someone’s farm. I’d ride, feed, clean…anything they needed me to do for a wage.

I saw this video and it just refreshed a lot of really strong nostalgia. I’m not even sure if it’s nostalgia when something is as continual as my interest in riding. I take breaks, for sure. Really long ones, maybe, but I know I’ll be back.

This man gets to do what I would kill to be able to do: move up to Washington state, save the money for a horse and board and just ride in every spare moment I can. Ride and camp and hike and just enjoy everything that’s up there. I’ve already got the Aussie!

I have one friend I met back in the original riding days. I was in the seventh grade and she was in sixth. We’re a day apart in age but not a minute apart in closeness. Katie is as close to living my old dream as can be. She’s currently working on a farm just north of West Palm Beach. She gets to ride multiple horses every day, she gets more experience by the week and she’s making connections in the horse world. Now she just needs to move northwest with me when August rolls around and we’ll be set.

A girl can dream…but I’m more of a planner and a doer.

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