When it comes to hobbies....
I have many.
But the one that has really stuck with me throughout the years has been horses and riding. The timing of this is quite funny, because as I say this I am gearing up for a cross country move, 2300 miles away from my barn and the horses.
I guess you could say I never grew out of the "I LOVE PONIES" phase that nearly all little girls experience. Countless Christmas' I would beg for a pony, only to be disappointed with clothes and dolls. To my parent's credit, ponies do not fit in third story apartments in Fall River, Massachusetts.
Years and a new town later, I will never forget the Christmas where my father told Ashley (my sister) and I, he had a surprise waiting in the garage for us. Wow we thought, we were FINALLY getting that pony. Santa delivered. Well, you can only imagine the terror on our face when we came out to see a new ping pong table and a set of paddles.
Long story short, I have always been a "horse fanatic" and grew up a very privileged and lucky girl, with or without the pony. At the age of 12, my father finally caved in (or was sick of our begging) and took Ashley and I to buy our first horse. And now we can laugh about the ping pong table.
Problem was, though we were obsessed with horses, we knew nothing about buying one, about the health of one, and where to go and what to look for. Again, long story short, we came home with a very lame un experience horse we soon returned. In exchange, we received a black and white horse, four years old with a lot of heart (and even more spook). We embarked on an adventure. 12 and 13 year old girls and 4 year old horse- the math doesn't add up but it was love at first site. I really can't talk about him in detail without drowning my keyboard, so you can read more about him here.
I no longer have that wonderful horse, but I still have that love for horses. It's a little different, a little uneasy, a little mistrusting, But, it is still there. When I had Cow, I refused to leave the area. I went to college 20 minutes away so I could come home every weekend and ride. I turned down semesters abroad, and stayed put in this sleepy little beach town as long as he was here to anchor me down.
14 years later, my ties to the area are slowly drifting and I feel that I can spread out a little more. As I am sure you all know, I am moving across the country in a few short weeks, attending graduate school at the University of Utah. For the first time I am leaving this "safety" net of my friends, family and horses, and venturing out.
Sometimes I get so wrapped up in my world of my perfect horse I once had, that I don't take the time to acknowledge one that I have learned to love, and changed my perspective on this whole horse thing.
After I lost Cow, my father offered to let me ride one of my sister's horses. She has four so lending me one to play with sort of worked out for all parties involved (although I am sure she doesn't agree).
I went from a 15'3 pinto to a 17'3 warmblood named Bradley. For you non-horsey friends, I went from a fast quick little fire ball sleek and crazy motor cycle, to a big low slow and clumbsy mini van. Don't get me wrong, opposite was good, and even welcomed, and I slowly learned to ride all over again. I have had almost 2 years with Bradley and I am grateful for the opportunity and of course, now I am heart broken to leave him.
The plan is I go and Bradley stays, but this new chapter will have horses because lets be honest, horses will always be a part of my life. But it will be a big change going from horses in your back yard, views from your bedroom window, to taking lessons at a large facility once a week.
It almost feels a little like the end, although I know it's not. Regardless, I am thankful for this horse, that as corny as it sounds, taught me a lesson in falling in love again. And even more thankful to my father who spoiled his pony obsessed daughters for years. To the father who bought a black and white horse for their daughters to share lessons on once a week. To the father who told them for fun only and horse showing wasn't an option, yet sent me to countless horse shows with the trailer full. To the father who said one was enough, and at times filled out barn with five horses.
And to the father who is soon to be receiving pleads of having a horse in Utah,
I'm sorry for my constant begging that is about to start.
And start packing up Bradley's stuff.